1986 – 1992
Naturaliste Volunteer Marine Rescue inc. (NVMR) was formed on April 26th 1982 after a near tragedy in Eagle Bay. Fundraising was initiated to buy and install radio equipment, with money also being raised by those rescued, collection tins and donations from the general public. The group continued to operate with these donations, from which a comprehensive radio network was established along the coastline from Busselton to Yallingup.
The 2-lane boat ramp at Quindalup jetty was built in 1986 using funds from the state govt. and the groups own funds. NVMR initiated the construction, providing both funds and labour alongside the shire personnel and equipment – this boat ramp is the Quindalup boat ramp still in use today.
Until 1992 Marine rescue in Dunsborough relied on 10 local boat owners supplying their vessels when the callout came, with a 24 hour listening watched established at Dunsborough, Eagle Bay, Cape Nat light house, Yallingup and Busselton Police station. The group bought it’s first dedicated rescue vessel in July/August 1992.
1992 – 2000
The vessel built in 1992 by ABM was a purpose built, 8.5m aluminium twin hull, which also required a jinker – this was built from steel provided at cost and welded by local tradesmen.
As a result of advertising, 2 identical Fordson diesel tractors became available, one of which was cannibalised to make the other work, again by volunteer tradesmen – this tractor is still in use today (2018).
Negotiations with the Shire of Busselton resulted in an agreement being reached to allow a brick and tile shed to be build next to teh ramp, on reserve land. The group prepared plans for a shed which was costed at $18,000, with the shire offering $12,000. By using donated materials and materials at cost price, the group, with volunteer tradesmen put the building up on time and in budget. The vessel ‘Linley Scott’ launched on 28th November 1992 (named after the long standing secretary and radio operator), with the boat shed being finalised in almost the same week.
The summer of 1992/3 was the first summer with dedicated boat in action on Geographe bay.
The AGM in winter 1993 determined that there should be 2 divisions of membership, Active (for those who contributed to the running of the group) and Ordinary (for those who wished to contribute but did not want to participate in the day to day running of the group, fees were $10 and $25 respectively.
‘Linley Scott’ was fitted with electronics during 93/94, funding for which was 50/50 with the lotteries commission, 1993 also saw formal commencement of training with the first TL3 course being run by DoT Mike Brown at Quindalup.
1994 &5 saw the extension of the shed to permit space for the tractor to remain coupled to the jinker, a space for training and meeting and construction of an upper level radio & operations room overlooking Geographe bay; the costing for this major work was never shown on books of account as an agreement was reached with the shire whereby the shire paid for the construction of the public toilets attached to the wall of the sea rescue shed and the group work was done by volunteer tradesmen, who managed the toilets, shed extensions and operations room, again, on time and in budget. The support from the local community for these projects was overwhelming.
The winter of 1995 saw ‘Linley Scott’s fuel tanks and battery compartments shifted forward to improve balance in heavy seas, her twin screws were modified to become counter-rotating.
4 members completed a radio operators license course in 1996, bringing the total number of licensed operators to 7.
1997 was the year of the Whahoo tragedy on Naturaliste Reef, where 3 lives were lost. Treatment for hypothermia and body retrieval occupied training time at a level not previously envisaged. This year also saw ‘ Linley Scott’ equipped with a life raft (donated by Dunsborough Rotary), a replacement GPS, Autopilot and a VHF radio. Late in the year, the HMAS Swan was sunk as a dive wreck 5.5nm NW of the rescue base, with diving now becoming extremely popular in the area.
In 1998, FESA (now DFES), entered the fray, with advantages of increased funding and guidance to training, early in 1999 the 4 members who qualified for TL3 attended a course at East Fremantle and became TL3 instructors. During this year, equipment required for running courses was acquired and between December 1999 and January 2000, 3 courses were completed at Quindalup resulting in 37 members getting their certificates, as well as 7 members of WAPOL and 1 from DoT.
In early 2000, after negotiations with the group during 1999, the shire agreed to erect a finger jetty at the ramp and to widen the ramp to allow additional launching bays – this was completed with funding from DoT and was a great success for both the launching of the ‘Linley Scott’ and the boating public.
In May 2000 a 4.5m GRP jet boat was acquired, with half the cost being funded by FESA, the shed was extended again to accommodate and upstairs training area and storage for the new vessel.
In 2008 a 9.3m Air Rider was delivered and named ‘Valarie June’, this state of the art vessel was equipped with long-range HF radio, twin navigation stations and twin 200hp outboards, with a range of over 200nm.
In 2016/17 the group extended it’s shed again, adding another bay for storage of a new vessel and adding extra space for training, and an observation deck.
In 2017 the group took delivery of a 7.1m Custom Ocean Craft vessel built by Pete Sandy in Henderson and named after a very generous benefactor. This vessel was specifically designed for work on the Western side of Cape Naturaliste, with an Isuzu truck being purchased specifically for towing her to Canal Rocks and beyond, knocking an hour off response times to the Yallingup area.
NVMR has only ever had 2 commanders:
-Ross Scott, who founded the group and nurtured its early finances, seeing a first class purpose-built boat in the water, housed in a first class shed;
– Geoff Brierley, who took over in 1994 and remains commander today, with an unmatchable history of progress and development, his efforts seeing him rewarded with the Emergency Services Medal, presented on Australia day 2016. The groups training, financial, building and boat programmes have all been deftly supervised by Geoff.
The group would like to acknowledge the WA State Government grant, The Lotteries commission, The Shire of Busselton, DFES (FESA), and the general public for their ongoing support, without which the group would not be in a position to provide the service that it does today.