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Dedicated Port Stephens volunteer awarded Marine Rescue NSW Life Membership

Long serving Marine Rescue Port Stephens volunteer Harold (Harry) Gibson has been recognised for almost four decades of service with life membership to Marine Rescue NSW.

Mr Gibson was presented the award at this weekend’s Marine Rescue NSW board meeting in Newcastle.

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Alex Barrell said it was wonderful to add Mr Gibson to the Service’s celebrated group of life members.

“This is an honour bestowed upon a member for exceptional service granted to him through the Board of Marine Rescue New South Wales.

“This award for Harry recognises nearly 40 years of dedicated service to Marine Rescue New South Wales, and importantly the boating community,” Commissioner Barrell said.

Mr Gibson is today a valued member of the Marine Rescue NSW Protocol Committee and began volunteering with the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol in April 1985, he said it was his interest in amateur radio that attracted him to offer his services.

“I felt I had a lot to offer the organisation plus I’ve been in the area (Nelson Bay) most of my life.

“I had Coxswain and diesel engineering certificates, so I was able to bring those skills along and help new members.

“It gave me such a thrill, I still do that (today), I still mentor new members,” he said.

Mr Gibson said he was honoured to receive the award and provided an insight into the emotion of saving lives on the water.

“There are highlights, very good times and very sad times that I do not talk about.

“The good times are when you’ve rescued people way out, 35 miles plus out to sea.

“You tow them in all night and for them to come up once we boarded the wharf just to hug you and say thank you, ‘we owe you our life you’ve done so much for us,’ that more than pays for everything, to see those people back on land safe, it’s a big thrill.

“It’s well worth all the danger, practice and exercise we put into the training,” Mr Gibson 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.