Marine Rescue NSW is encouraging women to volunteer at their local base with the Shoalhaven Region’s Jervis Bay unit assembling its first ever all-female crew to operate the unit’s lead vessel off Huskisson while Sydney’s Port Jackson unit now has its first regular all-female crew.
Jervis Bay’s all-female crew came together for a patrol and marine drill exercise to mark International Women’s Day.
Experienced sailor Jean Cane was Master onboard JB 41 with crew members Fran Koster, Janet Boardman, Cheryl Fogarty and Kristy Jones.
Cane has skippered vessels around the world for over 25-years and began volunteering for Marine Rescue Jervis Bay after relocating from Sydney early last year.
“I came down to live at Jervis Bay and saw the Marine Rescue base there, I just wanted to help other mariners out there because I’ve got the skills and I can do so,” she said.
Cane said heading up the all-female crew was a great way to showcase the unit’s strength and hopes it inspires more women to join Marine Rescue NSW.
“The males in the base, everybody in the base have helped train me as a female on the crew.
“People give a lot of time, they get out there at weekends and do extra time at night.
“Both male and female, very supportive bunch of people, you’ll always get help when you’re going through your training, it’s great,” Cane said.
Illawarra Zone Duty Operations Manager Stuart Massey was in awe of the women who crewed Jervis Bay 41.
“It’s a complex boat, the women handled that without any problems whatsoever and it’s always impressive to see a group of women on the water like that volunteering to save lives,” he said.
Massey said Marine Rescue NSW offers the same opportunities for all volunteers.
“Whether that be on the boats, whether that be in the radio room or whether that be helping us with fundraising, the more people we have in there the safer the mariners of NSW will be,” he said.
“I would encourage women to get involved with Marine Rescue NSW, give them the opportunity to get out on the water, help other people out there if the need arises and even look at an opportunity to progress a maritime career,” Massey said.
In Sydney, Port Jackson’s all-female crew became a reality in January and now conducts monthly patrols.
Just over 25% of Marine Rescue’s 3,296 volunteers across NSW are female with the agency encouraging more women to get involved in its mission of saving lives on the water.
Images: Travis Winks and Newsroom