'4WD of sea' arrives

The new marine rescue boat in Belmore Basin. The new boat was lifted off a truck and lowered into the harbour. Picture: ROBERT PEET

The new marine rescue boat in Belmore Basin. The new boat was lifted off a truck and lowered into the harbour. Picture: ROBERT PEET

THE new Marine Rescue unit at Shellharbour welcomed a new 10-metre-long member to the team last week.

The Naiad vessel, named Shelly's Rescue (SH30) is the newest addition at the Shellharbour Marine Rescue unit, and will improve response times and sea range.

The boat was built in Yamba and features state-of-the-art electronics including a night-vision camera, sea map and the latest GPS navigation system. It can also travel 15 nautical miles out to sea (and further if needed, with clearance from the Water Police), and can travel at 40 knots for a faster response.

Unit Commander Peter Kelf said the new boat would help the team of 35 volunteers assist people in trouble out at sea much faster and further away.

"This is a very good sea boat, they call [it] the four-wheel-drive of the sea," Mr Kelf said.

"With all the newest and latest features it's not only great for day rescues, but night as well.

"People will be very pleased with the new boat.

"It's well put together and it's a purpose-built boat, built especially for search and rescue.

"It gives us greater flexibility to provide help to other units, such as Port Kembla or Shoalhaven, when they are conducting searches.

The Shellharbour Marine Rescue Commander Peter Keft, boat crew Joe Vasconcelos, Stephen Boyd and Skipper Geoff Walls are excited to take charge of their new rescue boat. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

The Shellharbour Marine Rescue Commander Peter Keft, boat crew Joe Vasconcelos, Stephen Boyd and Skipper Geoff Walls are excited to take charge of their new rescue boat. Picture: GEORGIA MATTS

"It carries two 400-litre fuel tanks, which allow for a longer range, and is powered by two 250-horse-power Suzuki four-stroke engines."

The boat was partially funded by NSW Marine Rescue headquarters and the sale of the old rescue boat, but the bulk of the funds came from fund-raising events put on by the Shellharbour unit.

Mr Kelf encouraged anyone from the community to come down and chat to the unit.

For more details, visit marinerescuensw.com.au, or phone Mr Kelf on 0447 722 667.

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