Thursday, July 11, 2024


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

New Marine Rescue Units Set Sail In Mackay

Mackay created history last week by becoming one of the first marine rescue units to join volunteer organisation Marine Rescue Queensland (MRQ).

MRQ is a new service established under the Marine Rescue Queensland Act 2024, aiming to enhance community safety and improve protections for volunteers.

Marine rescue volunteers undertake approximately 4,000 rescue activations each year, operating across 46 units along Queensland’s coast, with plans in place to transition existing units to MRQ over the next 12 to 18 months.

During the transition period, VMRAQ and AVCGA units yet to transition will continue to provide lifesaving marine rescue services to their communities.

Representatives from across the community were present for the launch, including Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert. Other attendees included Mackay Whitsunday Police District Superintendent Graeme Paine and local police officers as well as local senior representatives from the Queensland Fire Department, Mackay residents and most importantly, the volunteers themselves with their families and friends.

Minister Mark Ryan said, "Our volunteers are everyday Queenslanders that devote their time to help save lives and protecting people while out on the water.

“Over the next 12 to 18 months, we will see more units come onboard as MRQ.

“In the meantime, MRQ, VMRAQ and AVCGA are committed to continue to deliver services across Queensland.”

Commissioner Steve Gollschewski welcomed the Mackay volunteer marine rescue unit into MRQ and said it was an important part of the disaster and emergency management response.

“The relationship and connection with the QPS, in particular the Water Police, has always been strong and we will continue to maintain and support these valuable relationships.

“The QPS will continue to support volunteer marine rescue units as they transition to MRQ to ensure continuity of service and keep Queenslanders safe while out on the water.”

Mackay MP Julieanne Gilbert also commented on the establishment and said that “Mackay has a long proud history of marine volunteering and rescue.

“The transition to MRQ will bring together volunteer groups under one banner and provide a single, integrated base for better access to equipment and greater support at local and regional levels, enhancing delivery of these lifesaving services,” she added.

The large crowd gathered to show their respect for the role of Volunteer Marine Rescue Queensland (VMRQ) in Mackay over a period of almost 60 years and the considerable efforts in recent times to bring about the launch of MRQ Mackay in its place. 

All the speakers at the launch unanimously reinforced just how critical MRQ will be moving forward.

Mackay joined Marine Rescue Queensland (MRQ) last week, marking a significant step towards unified marine rescue services across Queensland. Photo source: myPolice Mackay

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