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Marine Rescue Brunswick granted region’s first remote controlled on-water life-saving device

Marine Rescue Brunswick will bolster its rescue capability with a new state-of-the-art life-saving device after being awarded an Australian Government Stronger Communities Grant.

Marine Rescue NSW Northern Rivers Zone Duty Operations Manager John Murray said the Federal Government grant has aided the unit to purchase the Marine Rescue Northern Rivers region’s first ever USafe, a motorised remote controlled lifebuoy for rescue missions on local waterways including the Brunswick River, Simpsons Creek, Marshalls Creek and offshore.

“The USafe is a versatile and reliable piece of equipment that will assist our volunteers greatly in their mission of saving lives on the water.

“It is also reassuring for boaters, paddlers and swimmers who use our local waterways that this valuable tool is at the ready should they require assistance,” he said.

The USafe cost $14,000 with the Stronger Communities Grant contributing $10,000 and community donations funding the remainder.

“The financial support provided by the Australian Government and the local community to allow the unit to add a USafe to its rescue capability is greatly appreciated,” Mr Murray said.

Marine Rescue Brunswick Unit Commander Jonathan Wilcock said the USafe is operated by remote control and is a valuable life-saving tool for the Brunswick unit’s 76 volunteer members.

“The USafe will assist rescue crews in locations where we may not be able to get a vessel, like close to rocks or in shallow waters.

“This incredible piece of equipment can assist with recovering people in the water or getting a tow line to a disabled vessel in a challenging location.

“The device is easily transferable between the Brunswick unit’s rescue vessels and will be deployed when required to assist with a tasked mission.

“The USafe has a 300 metre working range and can transport up to 160kgs of buoyancy.

“It also features a variable speed motor so our rescue crews can approach a person gently or steer around hazards in the water,” Mr Wilcock said.

Volunteers at Marine Rescue Brunswick are currently undergoing training and familiarisation with a Marine Rescue NSW State Headquarters USafe device. Marine Rescue Brunswick is expected to take delivery of its own USafe in the coming weeks.

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