WHEN the call “Marine Rescue Ulladulla” crackles over the radios of boats leaving or coming home to safe harbour after Easter, it will be to a higher standard with a greater reach.
Ulladulla Marine Rescue commander Ken Lambert says except for new digital radio equipment and a taller broadcasting aerial he’s waiting on, reconstruction is almost complete after arson destroyed the base in October 2013.
The concrete slab was all that was left after the fire, which left a damage bill of more than $50 million.
From the razed ruins the rebuilt harbour front service will include improved radio capability and disabled access for anyone interested in applying to join the volunteer rescue staff.
A new 26-metre tall aerial on the cliff edge at the eastern end of Wason Street will overcome a blind spot at the southern-most coverage point, Brush Island.
The previous aerial stood less than half that height at 11 metres and Shoalhaven City Council is considering an application for a replacement.
“We’re waiting on the supplier of the radio equipment to deliver,” Mr Lambert said.
“It made sense to install digital equipment now, rather than replace old technology because it will work out cheaper than upgrading again in the long run,” he said.
A lift will be part of the new building to enable wheelchair and other disabled access.
Mr Lambert is keen to hear from anyone who would like to join the volunteer brigade, currently with 80 active members, 20 of them sea-going.
Mr Lambert thanked the Milton branch manager of Bendigo Bank, Leigh Felton and chair Tony Hardman, for donating $10,000 for new equipment from its community grants program.
The community bank has donated $70,000 to the Ulladulla base since mid-2011 to contribute to running costs including fuel, radio operations and office administration.
Any surplus goes back into the unit’s Bendigo Bank account to accumulate interest.
Proud history of service
1971: Ulladulla Sea Rescue established
1974: Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol – Ulladulla division formed
1981: Fred Edmonds moves to Ulladulla from Sydney and reactivated the unit.
1982: 1st rescue vessel, Kyli, purchased
1983: Membership grew to 30 sea-going members
1985: Work started to build base on Wason Street site. Local volunteers contribute labour and raw materials
2013: Base destroyed by fire - October 6
2015: New base constructed