Coast Guard Rescue Skipper Paul Burchell. Photos: Supplied.
BY HARVEY SHORE
Manly’s Coast Guard volunteers will be on duty throughout this Christmas holiday season.
Local commander Craig Bowen of Wynnum says the summer season is always the busiest for recreational boating, but it’s also the storm season. Calls for Coast Guard help always increase as Christmas approaches.
He also recommends boat owners join Coast Guard’s Marine Assist breakdown service. This provides assistance year-round for any vessel needing help at sea.
Coast Guard skipper John Lucchi and his colleagues have signed up new members to Marine Assist every weekend recently. “It’s a smart move,” says John, “because every boat breaks down sooner or later, and a commercial tow costs hundreds of dollars. But it’s free if you’re a member of Marine Assist. Call into our Manly base any weekend for joining details and a free tide chart.”
Meanwhile, veteran Coast Guard duty officer Paul Burchell has just passed the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s mandated practical assessment and been issued with his Coxswain Grade 1, a nationally recognised Open Coxswain Certificate of Competency. This means Paul can lawfully operate any vessel in Australia that is under 12 metres, with her owner’s permission.
Paul has been a member of QF2 since 1998, and already holds the National Emergency Medal and the Queensland Flood & Cyclone Citation for rescue work, plus the National Medal and many Coast Guard awards.
Unfortunately, success has a downside. Paul and his ace ‘J’ Roster team will end their year on duty in Manly…on New Year’s Eve!