A day with Mandurah Volunteer Marine Rescue

Members of the Mandurah Volunteer Marine Rescue Group play a significant and vital role in helping to ensure the Mandurah and Peel marine environment is a safe place in which to work, live and play.

The Mandurah Volunteer Marine Rescue Group works in close liaison with the Western Australia Police Service coordinating and performing search and rescue missions at sea and throughout the Peel Region.

TracPlus caught up with John Jones who is their skipper, radio operator and admin officer.

Established in 1963 by local policeman Charlie Buckley in response to a multiple drowning nearby, the Mandurah Water Rescue crew was the first Water Rescue crew in Western Australia. Today there are 38 Water Rescue branches in Western Australia alone.

The Mandurah crew have 130 volunteers on their books including skippers, crews and radio operators.

John is proud to be a part of the Water Rescue community, working alongside like-minded people whose goal it is to enjoy time on the water and save lives.

“I love driving the boats and being able to talk be that calm point of contact for those who're in trouble.”

Aside from having a lot of fun together, the team serve a vital role in the community.

Their role is twofold — to help people who’re in trouble but to also educated the community on water safety so that they’re better prepared in a crisis.

John stresses the importance of being well educated and prepared on the water.

“It’s vital to have up-to-date safety equipment. Have a radio that works! An EPIRB, flares and lifejackets. Have spare batteries and enough fuel!”

The crew also keeps a watchful eye on those who are out on the water. They have a logging system, so if a crew does not log back in once they’ve docked, the rescue crews will commence a search.

John knows first-hand how inhospitable the sea can be when things go wrong. Their services are often required when the weather is rough and in high seas — and things can quickly go wrong.

“Nobody lasts long in the water, so we need to get people fast as possible. The sea is the most dangerous place anyone can be lost.”

Mandurah itself is full of waterways, rivers and estuaries — which makes it a popular place for watersports, recreation and fishing. Once a mayday is received, the crews will head out to a rescue. They often work with the local Water Police too.

Like all first responders, the crew are oftentimes risking their own safety at the expense of helping others. TracPlus is a vital tool in their operations to ensure the crews are under the watchful eye of those back at base, and so crews are always in reach when they need it.

“Oftentimes on a mission, we’re consumed with our duties and we don’t have time to speak with our radio operators. We may be outside of the boat dealing with a situation, or helping retrieve someone from the water. TracPlus allows the operator can see where we are, and figure out where we're at through our mission.”

TracPlus also helps the team look back on past events for data recording, or for general education. The crew can see and have proof of where they've been, how fast they were travelling, or any other event data unique to that mission.

“It’s a safety tool that gives us peace of mind. The radio operator knows where our crews are. If we become lost, we know we can be located.” 

Through his role at Mandurah Water Rescue, John gets to do what he loves. Have the opportunity to spend time on the water with friends, share his love and knowledge of the sea, and help those in need.

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