SES to the rescue


SES to the rescue

Chipping in: Inverloch SES volunteers Charlie Deering, Angelo Chiodo and John Madden with the pride of the unit”s fleet, Rescue 31.

CHARLIE Deering swam through the sea in the darkness, looking desperately for missing fishermen off rocks just west of Inverloch.
The longstanding member of the Inverloch State Emergency Service unit persevered, despite being battered against the ragged cliffs of the Bunurong coast by fierce waves on a cold winter’s night, knowing lives were at stake.
A father and son had been reported trapped inside The Caves by the rising tide.
Eventually, with torch in hand, Mr Deering found the pair sitting on a rock platform, out of harm’s way. With lifejackets and safety lines in hand, the experienced diver returned the pair to safety. They were only shaken by their ordeal.
“It was high tide, so there were waves smashing up against the cliffs, so I just had to see if there was a break in the waves to get around the cliffs,” Mr Deering said.
Two days later, SES volunteers were back on deck, called out to an antenna blown onto a neighbour’s roof.
But that incident pales in comparison to a stormy night back in April, when SES volunteers responded to 40 callouts in a single night.
The 17 active members of the Inverloch SES unit are responsible for marine rescues offshore and in Anderson Inlet, clearing trees, protecting homes and assisting police.
“Inverloch is the only open sea rescue unit in the SES and fills in a bit of a gap along the coast here, as the nearest Water Police is at Hastings and the nearest Coast Guard is at Port Welshpool,” the unit’s John Madden said.
Volunteers have helped to tow yachts back to shore and rescued upturned vessels from the notorious Inverloch bar at the entrance to Anderson Inlet.
“The bar is very dangerous when it wants to be. There is not much of a gap between the waves there because there is that much water funnelling through,” Mr Deering said.
SES members at Inverloch have an impressive range of equipment at their fingertips.
The Stabi-craft 30 foot boat, Rescue 31, is the pride of the fleet. Featuring twin 200HP outboards and modern radar equipment, the boat was launched last year.
A 16 foot rigid inflatable boat has twin 40HP outboards and is ideal for inlet jobs.
A four-wheel-drive truck, an old truck and a rescue trailer complete the inventory.
“We need another vehicle at the moment because the old truck has just about had it. We’re trying to get a four-wheel-drive vehicle that is secondhand. We need two vehicles to get all of our equipment on the road,” Mr Madden said.
The unit is fundraising to collect $9000 towards the purchase.
The Lions and Rotary clubs of Inverloch have been particularly supportive of the SES and so have the businesses of Inverloch.
Mr Madden came to the SES with experience as a seaman with the army and Angelo Chiodo is a former skipper of a navy patrol boat. He was a foundation member of the Anderson Inlet Search and Rescue Unit, the predecessor of the SES unit.
“Being an ex-service bloke I like to get into something like this where you get to help people,” Mr Chiodo said.
Alison Vincent often staffs the radio at headquarters during emergencies, having completed her marine radio operator’s certificate.
“I thought I would be able to give a bit of my time,” she said, having since also completed general and boat
“A lot of our members have lived on the water here so they know what is possible and what isn’t possible.”
More volunteers are needed and always welcome, particularly young people.
To find out, contact Mr Madden on 0409 568 388 or see the unit’s website:
That site also has information about boating and fishing safety, and is designed and maintained by the unit’s Richard Mahoney.

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Posted by Chris Brown on Sep 1 2009. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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