Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) has released the Blue Water Review report into Queensland’s volunteer marine search and rescue organisations.

QFES Acting Commissioner Mark Roche said the comprehensive and broad-based review conducted by retired Royal Australian Navy Commodore Campbell Darby DSC AM included a thorough investigation of existing marine rescue arrangements in Queensland. 

“The Review examined and identified issues in the provision of marine search and rescue services by the two volunteer organisations: The Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association (AVCGA) and the Volunteer Marine Rescue Association Queensland (VMRAQ),” Mr Roche said.

“Extensive consultation was conducted with volunteers of both organisations, other government agencies and boating related groups to ensure a broad range of viewpoints.

“QFES recognises how important the services provided by our marine rescue volunteers are and is committed to ensuring volunteer marine rescue has a sustainable and robust future.

“This report provides QFES with a strong understanding of the issues which need to be considered to help deliver that future in close partnership with marine rescue volunteers and their local communities.”

Mr Roche said QFES would form a working group, which would include rank and file members of both services, to consider the observations raised in Mr Darby’s report to the Commissioner.

“The working group will work with QFES to form the future of volunteer marine rescue services in Queensland by the middle of 2019,” he said.

“This report, along with broader consultation and engagement with volunteers and key stakeholders, will assist QFES in identifying any areas where new ideas can be utilised and integrated to support marine rescue volunteers and their communities moving forward.

“Marine rescue volunteers are a tremendous asset and their commitment, motivation and passion for providing a safety net for the boating public cannot be underestimated.

“We have plenty of astute thinkers and well-intentioned volunteers across both organisations and we want to see them flourish.”

A link to the review can be found at https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/Pages/Review-VMR.aspx