Ballina jet boat rescue now the one in need of help

THE vital local lifesaving organisation Ballina Jet Boat Rescue is itself looking for help.

We all know the pain of taking a car in for a rego check to find out you need a few extra dollars for repairs you didn't see coming.

The same thing has happened to the jet boat.

Treasurer Elton Cummings said the organisation had budgeted for the jet boat's scheduled five-year maintenance and upgrade program, but the budget has blown out.

The group has the money for the repairs currently being undertaken, but then very little will be left in the bank.

Mr Cummings said it costs about $30,000 per year to keep the jet boat in the water.

He said the maintenance program has blown out to another $30,000, well above the $15,000 which had been budgeted for.

He said the vessel's patrol hours have increased by 50% as it now covers an expanded area from Evans Head to Brunswick Heads, and technology has changed since the Ballina Jet Boat Rescue took deliver of the purpose-built vessel.

The major upgrades have been the purchase of two new digital radios, two new control panels, rewiring of the craft, the upgrade of all the lights to LED and repairs to the boat's fuel tank.

Mr Cummings also said the costs of insurance and vessel survey have also increased.

He said the current upgrades will bring the vessel "right up to scratch".

"Our volunteers risk their lives going out in big seas," he said.

"You have to have it (the boat) dead set absolutely right."

The Ballina Jet Boat Rescue service this year celebrates its 44th anniversary and is seeking business sponsorship.

To help, phone 0418 661 175.

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