Sailors further support search and rescue

  • Racing
  • NEWS
  • By Jennifer Crooks
  • 29 Dec 2006 15:00:00
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Injured crew on Maximus being transferred to a helicopter

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In 2002 a $20,000 donation was made by the SOLAS Trust to SouthCare Aero Medical and Rescue Helicopter, the same group which airlifted three of the six injured crew off the New Zealand maxi Maximus on the morning of day two this year’s event.

As part of its ongoing commitment to supporting search and rescue coordination authorities and centres, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) Trust will make a donation to Tascoast Radio which is operated by the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania.

The SOLAS Trust committed to this latest donation in early December and it will take the total amount distributed by the SOLAS Trust to search and rescue organisations Australia wide to $300,000.

Given the drama of the first 24 hours of this year’s Boxing Day classic when two of the leading maxis were dismasted in heavy seas off the NSW south coast and the crew of Ray White Koomooloo was forced to abandon their sinking vessel, this latest donation to the RYCT, the finish coordinator of the event has proven timely.

In 2002 a $20,000 donation was made by the SOLAS Trust to SouthCare Aero Medical and Rescue Helicopter, the same group which airlifted three of the six injured crew off the New Zealand maxi Maximus on the morning of day two this year’s event.

“The SOLAS Trust is a way for those who enjoy the adventure of racing to Hobart or pleasure boating on their local waters to support the boating community and those who may one day find themselves in trouble,” said Chairman of the Trustee Matt Allen, who will present the cheque to Tascoast on Monday 1 January 2007.

“Rescue personnel are our real national treasures. They train hard, work hard and they put their lives on the line to selflessly rescue others in trouble,” Allen added.

The announcement was made today that Tascoast Radio will be presented with a cheque for almost $5,000 on 1 January 2007 at the prizegiving for the 2006 Rolex Sydney Hobart at the RYCT in Hobart.

Since the Trust was established, $300,000 has been distributed including three donations to Tasmanian organisations. Close to $43,000 has been donated to Tasmanian Air Rescue in two instalments and next Monday a third donation will be made, this time to enhance Tascoast’s radio station.

Tascoast Radio, which is owned and operated by The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, the finish Club of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, has provided seafarers with a twice daily radio sked service giving local weather forecasts and taking position reports and messages from small craft since 1983.

The number of boats availing themselves of this service has increased and is expected to further increase following the closure of other Limited Coast Stations and the mooted closure of state operated voice monitoring stations (Coast Radios).

This enhancement will assist the volunteer operators to provide a more efficient operation by allowing simultaneous transmissions of weather forecasts on different frequencies.

The SOLAS Trust has also committed $43,500 to supporting St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney and their development of a Medical Management for Mariner’s course.

The course, which is expected to be rolled out in March 2007, is expected to attract interest from the Water Police, state boating authorities and numerous volunteer rescue groups across the county.

Sailors wanting more specialised information on first aid at sea will also be invited to complete the course. 

The Safety of Life of Sea Trust was established following the 1998 Sydney Hobart Race when six lives were lost.  Following this event, an outpouring of support from both the yachting and general community saw a Trust fund established. This Trust was set up with three objectives; to assist the immediate needy family of those lost at sea during Australian Yachting Federation sanctioned races; to provide assistance to search and rescue organisations and; to foster research and training to improve procedures and equipment for use at sea.

Well in excess of $400,000 has been donated by those participating in the sport to the SOLAS Trust since its inception, with the vast majority coming from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia and its members.

Some recipients are specialist marine organisations while others, like SouthCare Aero Medical and Rescue Helicopter are general rescue organisations which assist not only the sailing and boating community but also coordinate general rescues including bushwalkers and other accident victims.

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