Tin Can Bay Coast Guard’s new pontoon is lowered into place.
Tin Can Bay Coast Guard’s new pontoon is lowered into place. Contributed

Rescuers back in business thanks to new pontoon

TIN Can Bay Coast Guard will be back to normal operations in a matter of weeks thanks to the instalment of a new pontoon.

The $60,000 pontoon is the vital replacement for the structure that was virtually destroyed by the Australia Day weekend storms.

The extreme weather made waters so rough that the pontoon, which had serviced the Coast Guard for more than a decade, and connecting walk way were severely damaged and rendered unusable.

The Coast Guard has not been able to use their pontoon since the destructive weather hit.

As a result, their two smaller boats were kept at the base on trailers. Their primary rescue vessel, Cooloola Rescue II, was able to be moored at Tin Can Bay Marina.

Deputy Commander John Van der Heijde said the organisation was grateful for the assistance provided by the marina, which allowed them to access the rescue boat quickly to continue to provide their rescue and emergency services.

Funding for the new pontoon was sourced from nation-wide Coast Guard insurance, but the claim took time to process.

Dpt Cmdr Van der Heijde said the finishing touches to the pontoon were still to be completed and he expected the Coast Guard would be able to make use of it within the next two weeks.

Lighting, hydraulic lifts, a ladder and other equipment are still to be fixed to the new pontoon, most of which was saved from the harsh January weather.

Dpt Cmdr Van der Heijde said having a valid pontoon at the Coast Guard's doorstep again meant volunteers could respond to emergencies in less than 20 minutes.

Also benefiting from the new pontoon will be Tin Can Bay's Sailability group, who use the Coast Guard's pontoon weekly.

Gympie Times


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