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New vessels for marine search and rescue volunteers

VMR vessel

Marine Search and Rescue (MSAR) groups across Victoria’s south-west are some of the first in the state to benefit from the government’s record $11.3 million funding boost.

As part of the funding, new vessels will be provided to Port Fairy Marine Rescue Service, Port Campbell Surf Life Saving Club, Portland Surf Life Saving Club and Apollo Bay Ocean Rescue.

There are almost 800 MSAR volunteers in Victoria, who respond to about 1300 marine incidents every year.

Victoria’s south-west is an especially challenging environment for MSAR rescues, given the Southern Ocean is often treacherous and it is difficult for vessels to access some of the remote areas along the coast.

The region is also experiencing strong growth in recreational boating, meaning volunteers need to be on high alert at all times of the year.

The government announced in December, that for the first time, it was investing $11.3 million in the sector over two years, as part of a wider program of reforms to improve governance and deliver better coordination between MSAR units.

The statewide funding program includes:

  • more than $6.5 million to provide new search-and-rescue vessels
  • more than $4.75 million in operational funding to cover essential costs such as training, fuel, protective clothing, maintenance, equipment and insurance.

The operational funding also includes about $550,000 to replace vessel engines, as well as $325,000 per year in contingency costs to help MSAR units with emergency repairs and other unexpected expenses.