Breaking News:
Rescue & Services

New Port Stephens Marine Rescue vessel named in honour of long-serving volunteer

Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington has welcomed a new $667,000 Marine Rescue NSW vessel, which provides a significant boost for the Port Stephens community.

Ms Washington was joined by Marine Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Darren Schott to officially commission Port Stephens 30 to the Marine Rescue NSW fleet.

The new vessel, funded by the NSW Government and community donations, was today also named the Shirley Clark in honour of the 92-year-old Port Stephens unit member.

Ms Washington said it was an honour to commission the Shirley Clark and recognise the decades of dedication by one of Marine Rescue NSW’s longest serving volunteers.

“Shirley has a long history of helping keep boaters safe in the region alongside her late husband Kevin.

“She has given so much to the community and it is wonderful that this new vessel will bear her name while it carries out its vital life-saving work on the region’s waterways.

“On behalf of the people of Port Stephens, and all of our boating visitors, I thank Shirley and all of the dedicated, hardworking Port Stephens Marine Rescue volunteers.

“This rescue boat has the speed and technology to quickly and safely get rescue crews where they are needed when vital seconds count.

“This rescue vessel is a valuable investment in the safety of Port Stephens and the Hunter Coast’s active local boating community and its many visiting boaters,” she said.

Ms Washington also encouraged all boaters to Log On and Log Off with Marine Rescue NSW either using the free Marine Rescue app or via VHF channel 16.

“Using the Marine Rescue app or establishing contact through VHF Channel 16 ensures that a search will be initiated for boaters who don’t return from a voyage as planned,” she said.

Marine Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Darren Schott said the new rescue boat was designed and built to meet demanding local operating conditions and would prove a reassuring presence for locals and visitors alike.

“Boaters at Port Stephens can take comfort knowing this state-of-the-art vessel is at the ready should they run into trouble,” he said.

“With twin 300 horsepower Suzuki outboard engines and a specialist Raymarine suite of maritime navigation equipment, the 10 metre Naiad rescue boat is equipped to perform a variety of operational tasks.”

“The upgraded search and rescue technology on board including radar, sonar and FLIR night vision has improved our search capability, which is vital to our mission of saving lives on the water.

“As well as operating on the Karauh River and Port Stephens Bay, this boat can quickly deploy up to 30 nautical miles out to sea to rescue boaters who find themselves in trouble offshore.

“In the first nine months of this year the Port Stephens unit has been incredibly busy assisting boaters, completing 228 rescue missions, 101 of which were emergencies,” Deputy Commissioner Schott said.

Pictured: Marine Rescue NSW Central Zone Commander Dan Duemmer, Marine Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Darren Schott, Deputy Mayor Port Stephens Council Councillor Leah Anderson, Marine Rescue NSW Port Stephens volunteer Shirley Clark, Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington and Marine Rescue Port Stephens Unit Commander Ben van der Wijngaart.

Marine Rescue Port Stephens Unit Commander Ben van der Wijngaart thanked the local community for its generous support of the unit’s fundraising efforts to contribute 20 per cent of the cost of the new vessel.

He said the new vessel was a significant improvement over the unit’s former 8.5 metre rescue boat.

“With improved handling and manoeuvrability and greater volunteer comfort, our crews are able to operate more safely for longer periods and in a wider range of weather and sea conditions.”

“The vessel’s name, the Shirley Clark, is a fitting tribute to much respected life-member Shirley Clark. Shirley has been a volunteer with the Port Stephens unit for more than 40 years and remains a popular and highly respected member of the Port Stephens community,” he said.

Marine Rescue NSW is a volunteer based not-for-profit professional organisation dedicated to keeping boaters safe on the water and supporting local communities.For more information about

Marine Rescue NSW – visit their website HERE