New rescue boat making a splash

LINDA Jones was like a proud mum watching for the first time her baby taking to the water.

The Coffs Harbour Coastal Patrol divisional commander and her colleagues watched and waited with eager anticipation yesterday morning as their new rescue vessel was delicately lowered into the water at the city's international marina.

"I'm excited," Mrs Jones said.

"It's the end of three years of fundraising to get to where we are today.

"It now means the members of the coastal patrol will be trained in all aspects of how to use a rescue boat, so they can take part in searches and rescues."

The new rescue boat is the result of a hard slog by coastal patrol members, who have worked tirelessly to raise the $160,000 required to have the vessel custom-made to their requirements.

The boat was built at LeisureCat's workshop in Henderson, Western Australia, and two members of the coastal patrol made the journey to the west coast recently so they could give it a test run.

The vessel arrived in Coffs Harbour on the back of a truck on Sunday.

The 8.9-metre fibreglass catamaran is powered by two, 200-horsepower Evinrude e-tech outboard motors, and i twill be licensed to carry six people.

Once the rescue boat hit the water yesterday, all that was needed to send it on its way was a prayer by Reverend Graham Whelan.

It was then steered to the nearby slipway for anti-fouling, and to allow the coastal patrol livery to be put in place.

"We'll now undertake more crew training over the next couple of weeks so our members can be accredited to use the vessel," Mrs Jones said.

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