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Channel 16 on VHF 
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Channel 88 (27.880 MHz) 
on a 27 MHz radio

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9450 2468

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News & Media

  • Marine Rescue NSW volunteers honoured on Queen’s Birthday
  • June 08, 2015

Three volunteers from Marine Rescue NSW have been recognised for their commitment to saving lives on the water and service to the NSW boating community in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Doug Musker, Norman Smith and Richard Taffs have today been awarded the Emergency Service Medal.

Mr Musker is a former Illawarra Regional Director on the Marine Rescue NSW Board and Unit Commander of Marine Rescue Ulladulla, of which he remains an active member.

Mr Smith is a long-serving member of Marine Rescue Central Coast and Mr Taffs is an original Director of MRNSW and the Unit Commander of Marine Rescue Wooli on the North Coast.

MRNSW Deputy Commissioner Dean Storey congratulated the three members on the national recognition of their distinguished service.

“These awards represent our country’s recognition and grateful thanks to these volunteers for their selfless work and commitment to the large boating community of NSW,” he said.

“Our volunteers deserve the utmost admiration and respect for their contribution to saving lives on the water and improving boating safety.

“The willingness and commitment they show in fulfilling their vital roles, putting their own safety at risk in the most challenging conditions - such as those we saw during the fierce April storms here in NSW - are an example to all of the special qualities of our volunteers.

“They give up more of their time to attend regular training, conduct boating education courses in their local communities and raise essential funds. Our Board members give even more of their time to provide strategic direction for Marine Rescue NSW.

“The three recipients of these prestigious awards today represent all of our volunteers who make a valuable contribution to the safety and wellbeing of our community without any expectation of reward or recompense.

“We say thank you to them all. They are a credit to our organisation.”

Doug Musker ESM, Narrawallee

Mr Doug Musker joined the Ulladulla Division of the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol (RVCP) - now Marine Rescue Ulladulla - in 2002. He has served with distinction, ensuring the boating community is protected by a high-quality rescue service committed to saving lives on the water. A qualified Radio Operator and Coxswain, he has placed the safety of others above his own to return boaters at risk in hazardous conditions to safety. Mr Musker has served his unit in a number of roles, including as a rescue crew member, radio operator, Administration Officer and the Unit Commander from 2007 until his retirement from the position in 2012, when he was elected as the Illawarra Regional Director on the MRNSW Board. A former accountant and avid sailor, Mr Musker has applied his marine and professional skill and experience for the benefit of the unit, the boating community and MRNSW as an organisation. With a commitment to training and skills development, Mr Musker recognised that all members involved in a rescue operation should be well trained and equipped to perform their roles safely and effectively. Under his constructive and focused leadership, the Ulladulla unit replaced its ageing rescue vessel with its first new, purpose-designed vessel and expanded its unit headquarters to provide additional training, storage and member facilities. Soon after this upgrade was completed, the unit’s base was destroyed by fire in October 2013. Mr Musker has since worked with the Unit executive and MRNSW Headquarters to steer the construction of a new (recently-completed) base and maintain members’ morale. As a Board Member, Mr Musker played a thoughtful and rigorous role in setting the strategic direction of the organisation, again bringing financial and operational acuity to the task.

Norman Smith ESM, Ettalong

Mr Norman Smith joined the RVCP Central Coast Division – now Marine Rescue Central Coast – in 1980. Mr Smith is a Life Member of both the RVCP and MRNSW. A senior Coxswain, he has always been the first to volunteer for rescue assignments, often in difficult and life-threatening circumstances and is always willing to share his knowledge of the sea and conditions from Sydney Harbour to Port Stephens and the region’s inland waterways for the benefit of MRNSW and the general public. As the unit’s boat licence examiner for many years, he assists the boating community by guiding and testing applicants for a NSW boat licence. Mr Smith has served the unit in a number of demanding roles, including as Divisional Commander, Officer in Charge of the Central Coast Division, Radio Officer (Education), Training Officer and Unit Boat Officer, which involves many hours of extra attendance to ensure the unit’s rescue vessels are maintained in optimum condition and readiness to respond to any emergency on the water. Mr Smith was awarded the Maritime Safety Medal in 2009, reflecting the community’s appreciation for the time, energy and commitment he devotes to boating safety. As well as taking part in on-water activities such as providing crowd control for events such as Brisbane Water fireworks, the Bicentennial celebrations, Sydney to Hobart yacht races and the Pope’s visit in 2008, Mr Smith has also assisted in numerous unit activities, such as extensions and upgrading projects at the base, erecting two marine radio antennae and installing rescue boat lifts. Mr Smith has risked his safety in numerous hazardous rescues and his dedication, loyalty, enthusiasm and stamina embody the highest standards of volunteerism.

Richard Taffs ESM, Wooli

Mr Richard Taffs is recognised for his commitment to Marine Rescue NSW in a number of roles across the organisation, including as the Unit Commander of Marine Rescue Wooli for the past six years. Mr Taffs joined the then Wooli Volunteer Rescue Association in 2002. In 2008, he was appointed by the State Government as a member of the Facilitation Committee set up to guide the establishment of MRNSW as a new, single rescue service and then became an original Director of the new organisation. Mr Taffs chaired the training committee that worked on the development of rescue crew and radio operator training programs and securing MRNSW’s status as a Registered Training Organisation. He also was a member of the design committee for the organsation’s new fast-response Naiad rescue vessels. Mr Taffs contributes up to 1000 hours a year supporting the development and delivery of marine rescue training, personally presenting rescue crew, radio operator and emergency operations centre training courses to members of units on the Mid North Coast and Northern Rivers.  As well as his MRNSW training activities, Mr Taffs also is an examiner for members of the public applying for their recreational boating licences, presenting 166 boating safety courses for 1160 applicants since 2008. He has attained the highest qualifications available to members of the service as a Marine Rescue Master and Search and Rescue Officer, using his skills and knowledge to lead the unit’s rescue boat crew and marine radio team to assist those in difficulty at sea of Wooli, an isolated and hazardous stretch of the NSW coastline, whenever called upon. He has taken part in more than 100 rescue operations and continues to provide radio coverage around the clock from his home when the small Wooli unit is not operational.


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