Shepparton Search and Rescue is the proud owner of a new state-of-the-art river rescue boat.
The new boat was officially launched yesterday by Federal Member for Murray Damian Drum, although its maiden voyage took place a week earlier when local police called for assistance checking a submerged car.
The boat boasts a strengthened hull and prop-shielding for navigating smaller, snag-filled rivers and on-board sonar lets the pilot check for hazards and river depth.
The boat’s hefty $32000 price tag was paid for via fund-raising, with matched grants from the Federal Government and the Shepparton Triathlon Club.
Shepparton Search and Rescue’s Alan Male heaped praise on the Shepparton Triathlon Club for its $10000 donation.
‘‘(They’re) a really great organisation, we’ve been involved with them, providing all their on-water safety for about 20 years,’’ Mr Male said.
‘‘We were just blown away when they presented us with a cheque for $10000.”
Shepparton Triathlon Club president Trent Hadfield said agreeing on funding for the rescue boat was an easy decision.
‘‘The (Shepparton Triathlon Club) has benefited from the support of (Shepparton Search and Rescue) for many, many years. Thankfully we’ve never had an emergency that (they) had to be called upon, but should we need it in the future, it’s good to have the boat on water,’’ Mr Hadfield said.
The government chipped in a further $5000, with Mr Drum saying it was money well spent.
‘‘Especially when you have these community groups that are funding a large portion on their own. It’s not like these community groups come to you with an empty bowl and say can you please fill it up,’’ Mr Drum said.
‘‘In this instance, our $5000 has been leveraged seven times over.’’
Mr Drum said it was always a difficult decision allocating funding grants.
‘‘Every grant the government has is always significantly oversubscribed... For the vast majority of these grants, there’s always two or three other community organisations that miss out.’’
Shepparton Search and Rescue is entirely staffed by volunteers and is reliant on donations and fund-raising for its operations. It is one of only two independent rescue units in the state of Victoria.
- Myles Peterson