The volunteer service responsible for some of the longest civil sea rescues in Australia has received a welcome equipment boost to allow for faster response times off the remote Kimberley coast.
The Department of Fire and Emergency Services recently awarded Marine Rescue East Kimberley a grant exceeding $100,000 for a new tow tractor to replace an aged truck used to launch and retrieve the service’s 8m rescue vessel.
DFES Kimberley and Pilbara marine rescue district manager Bec Benson said the new Kubota tractor from Ord Agricultural Equipment would boost efficiencies in time-critical rescue scenarios.
“Marine Rescue East Kimberley had an old truck that did the job, but this will certainly do it a lot better,” she said.
“This will make the response time a lot faster and a lot safer for volunteers to launch and retrieve the vessel.”
Ms Benson said MREK was also in line for a new rescue boat, scheduled to arrive in Wyndham by the end of February.
“They’ll have not only their big boat for the long journeys but a smaller boat where they can access the shallow areas, the creeks, and nearby locations,” she said.
With six rescues carried out over the past 12 months, MREK commander Lincoln Heading said the new equipment would provide welcome assistance to the volunteer organisation.
“The other vehicle was getting old, so this will definitely serve an essential purpose for years to come,” he said.