SOLAS makes its largest state-based donation yet

  • Racing
  • NEWS
  • By Damian Maclennan
  • 08 Aug 2005 13:48:00

Commodore Frank Robards (left) from the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association and SOLAS Chairman Martin James


“This donation is a significant contribution to construction costs but the value is far greater than the monetary amount. This donation is a clear demonstration of the support for this project and enhances the likelihood of successful applications for Commonwealth Grants."

The Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s Safety of Life at Sea Trusts, which were established following the 1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race when six lives were lost at sea, have made their largest state-based contribution yet to a Sydney hospital and three NSW coastal rescue authorities.

In accordance with one of the Trusts’ objectives to provide assistance to search and rescue organisations, $55,000 has been donated to three NSW coastal search and rescue organisations which patrol the coastal strips passed by most major Australian offshore races, including the CYCA’s premier race, the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race, and many other recreational craft on trips up and down the east coast

In addition, $15,000 has been donated towards the development of a specialised ‘Medical Management for Mariners’ course at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney.

The first recipient in this round of donations is the Volunteer Coast Guard Bermagui which has received $15,000 towards the construction of a search and rescue centre that will be responsible for coordinating all maritime rescue groups from Montague Island through to Tathra.
"The Australian Volunteer Coast Guard greatly appreciates this generous donation,” said Commodore Frank Robards.
“These funds are dedicated to the construction of a new Marine Search & Rescue Co-ordination Centre that has been identified as an urgent project.
“This donation is a significant contribution to construction costs but the value is far greater than the monetary amount. This donation is a clear demonstration of the support for this project and enhances the likelihood of successful applications for Commonwealth Grants and contributions from the local community, all of which are important for the completion of this new Marine Search & Rescue base.
“On behalf of AVCGA Flotilla NF-16 Bermagui and the AVCGA, I give our sincere appreciation and thanks,” Commodore Robards added.

The second organisation to benefit from this round of donations is the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol in Sydney and at Tuggerah Lakes on the NSW central coast.

The Tuggerah Lakes Division of the RVCP has been offered a suitable site for a new base by Wyong Council and they are currently raising funds to purchase a demountable office for their operations. The SOLAS Trusts have committed $15,000 towards their fundraising efforts.

Meanwhile the wharf at the RVCP’s Sydney Division at Mosman urgently requires a complete refurbishment and the SOLAS Trusts have agreed to contribute $10,000 to the overall cost.

“The generosity of the CYCA’s SOLAS Trust grants will help provide much-needed infrastructure for two important divisions of the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol,” said Commodore Mark Wain ESM, Officer Commanding.

“The wharf at our Sydney division, which is home to seven lifeboats including an Arun and a Waveney, is in desperate need of major repairs and the SOLAS grant will enable the Coastal Patrol to take a giant step forward to get this urgent job done.

“The other Coastal Patrol Division to benefit from the SOLAS board’s generosity is Tuggerah Lakes, the only accredited volunteer marine rescue organisation operating on the Lakes. For many years Tuggerah Lakes Division has operated from borrowed premises that challenged but never compromised the effective delivery of VRM services to the large boating community in the area. The SOLAS grant will bring this division’s new headquarters closer by $15,000.

“On behalf of the Divisional Commander Dave Penfold at Sydney and Divisional Commander Des Dunn at Tuggerah Lakes, and the members at both divisions, I would like to express the Coastal Patrol’s deep gratitude for these important and very welcome grants,” said Commodore Wain.

Another NSW recipient is the Volunteer Rescue Association at Nambucca Heads which currently has no operations centre due to a fire which destroyed their rescue shed. They are actively raising money towards the cost of rebuilding their existing centre and the SOLAS Trusts have agreed to contribute $15,000 towards their fundraising efforts.

The final recipient of this sizeable round of donations is St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney. The CYCA’s own cruising group has realised, through arranging a number of First Aid evenings, that there is an urgent need for more specialised first aid at sea training, and they have been working closely with the staff at St. Vincent’s Hospital to develop a practical course suitable for offshore sailors and rescue groups who carry out their duties at sea.

“Due to the worthwhile nature and relevance of this project to yacht clubs and offshore sailors Australia-wide, we have agreed to put $15,000 towards the cost of developing the course. It has already generated early interest from the NSW Water Police, NSW Maritime and other maritime rescue groups including helicopter groups,” said SOLAS chairman and Immediate Past CYCA Commodore Martin James.

“The Trustee board members have worked hard since 1998 race to identify suitable organisations and distribute donations,” James said.

“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.

“As the Trusts’ chairman and an offshore yachtsman myself, I am constantly reminded of the importance of rescue organisations. My sailing and Trust colleagues and I appreciate the opportunity to acknowledge the magnificent work they do and support them in their quest to raise funds to improve their own equipment base and facilities,” he added.

Up until this latest round of donations, the Trusts had already distributed $175,000 to organisations in New South Wales, Tasmania, Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and the ACT, and with the Trustees’ second round of NSW based donations, the total amount donated has reached $245,000.

Barry McGrath, Chairman of the RVCP and SOLAS Chairman Martin James Image: CYCA Staff

Barry McGrath, Chairman of the RVCP and SOLAS Chairman Martin James


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