The ‘Hyne Timber Rescue’ took pride of place in the sail past of vessels during the ‘Blessing of the Fleet’ ceremony held at the Hervey Bay Marina recently. A centuries-old Mediterranean practice, the traditional sail past and blessing have been adopted in Hervey Bay for the safe passage of the whale watching and rescue vessels, their crew, visitors and the whales themselves.

Following Hyne Timbers’ recent commitment to a three-year sponsorship agreement, ‘Hyne Timber Rescue’ has been designated Hervey Bay’s Volunteer Marine Rescue primary response vessel. Measuring eight metres in length and built in 2012, the vessel can hold up to eight people.

Hyne Timber CEO Jon Kleinschmidt comments that the region’s waterways are very popular with both locals and visitors, necessitating the services of a skilled rescue team. He explained that the hard-working and dedicated team safely returned hundreds of boats and people every year in addition to providing a medical transfer service from the islands as required.

Kevin Heitmann, Commodore of Hervey Bay Volunteer Marine Rescue noted that the operation could not exist without substantial support from the business sector. He explained that Volunteer Marine Rescue relied on corporate support such as the recent sponsorship agreement with Hyne Timber to keep membership costs down and run an adequate service to meet the region’s marine rescue requirements.

Membership with Volunteer Marine Rescue Hervey Bay is very reasonable with the premium SOS membership entitling the boat owner to two free tows per year among other benefits for just $75.

The volunteers also run free radio courses for their members ahead of taking the Office of Maritime Communications examination, which costs $80 and is essential to hold a licence for a VHF radio. Their next courses will run on 1 August and 31 October 2015.