Late volunteer honoured in commissioning of new rescue boat
A PROUD moment for the family of the late David Waddell was also a reminder of the dangers the volunteers in Ballina's Marine Rescue unit face.
The unit yesterday commissioned its new $428,000 rescue vessel, BA30, which has been named to honour the memory of Mr Waddell, a foundation unit member who drowned during a rescue on the Ballina bar in 1983.
David's son, Robert Waddell, from the Central Coast, spoke on behalf of his two sisters, who were guests at the ceremony at Fawcett Park.
He said his dad loved Marine Rescue - back then it was called the Coast Guard.
"To think that 30 years down the track, they're (Marine Rescue) still remembering him - we're totally and truly honoured," he said.
Already the North Wall tower is named in David's honour and his name appears on a memorial for emergency service personnel at Mrs Macquarie's Chair in Sydney.
David Waddell settled on a dairy farm at Cumbalum, north of Ballina, after returning from his Second World War service.
His love of boating didn't begin until he retired in Ballina at age 60.
His life ended helping another boatie.
Rescue vessel coxswain Tony Handcock said the unit had "great admiration" for Mr Waddell.
He said naming BA30 in Mr Waddell's honour "keeps us ever mindful of the work we do and the dangers involved".
Mr Handcock himself was on board the unit's old vessel when it capsized during a hazardous rescue on the Ballina bar on April 15 last year.
BA30 was blessed by Fr Tom Chapman, while Robert Waddell had the honour of pouring the champagne over the bow.
Engines: Two Suzuki four-stroke outboards
Max speed: 42 knots
Fuel capacity: Two 400L tanks
Max on board: Eight people
BALLINA'S mayor, Cr David Wright, can't be accused of ever letting a chance go by.
At the commissioning ceremony of Ballina Marine Rescue's new rescue vessel yesterday, he capitalised on the attendance of Federal and State members representing Ballina
He told the gathering he had been in their ears about matching council's $750,000 to get the new Marine Rescue tower built at North Wall.
And he said both had mentioned there was money becoming available in the near future.
He said he had already rung council's general manager to send off plans to the relevant government departments as part of the push for funding.
Cr Wright said he didn't mind making the State and Federal politicians feel "uncomfortable" at the public gathering as he knew both Don Page and Kevin Hogan were supporters of Marine Rescue.
The council has spent $200,000 on designs for the new tower, which will replace the current leaning tower.
The new tower's design will, he said, keep it stable.