Marine Rescue Port Stephens dock in Nelson Bay undergoes $180,000 replacement

REPLACEMENT: Work on replacing the Marine Rescue Port Stephens dock at Nelson Bay marina last Tuesday. Picture: Supplied
REPLACEMENT: Work on replacing the Marine Rescue Port Stephens dock at Nelson Bay marina last Tuesday. Picture: Supplied

The Marine Rescue Port Stephens (MRPS) dock located at Nelson Bay marina has undergone a $180,000 restoration and replacement.

MRPS community relations officer Will Scott said that the previous old dock was close to 20 years old and was in a poor state of disrepair.

"We use the dock in all sorts of weather, 24/7 and over the years it has become hazardous and unstable, and a danger for our boat crews. Our new dock has been over a year in the planning stage and will add greater safety and accessibility to our volunteers," he said.

Work commenced on the dock on March 16.

"This was a large project for us with Bellingham Marine completing the engineering design and supplying new suitable pontoons," Mr Scott said.

"The lifting of the pontoons from the flatbed trucks to the water was carried out by Wheeler Cranes, and the drilling and fitting of the new piles and assembly of the new pontoons was done by Harbour Constructions Pty Ltd."

Mr Scott said that the scope of the project included the removal of three piles replaced by two heavier piles; and the removal of all aluminium surfaced pontoons and installation of new concrete topped pontoon sections.

"Our rescue vessels remained available during the work thanks to the support of the Port Stephens Water Police, NSW Marine Parks and d'Albora Marinas."

The project, which cost a total of $180,000, was supported by a donor who wishes to remain anonymous ($40,000); Marine Rescue NSW through the NSW Facility Development Fund ($40,000); Bellbird Game Fishing Club ($20,000); Nelson Bay Bowling Club ($2000); and Anna Bay Tavern Fishing Club ($2000).

"We have made application for further funds through some applicable grant programs," Mr Scott said.

"Our ongoing fundraising activities will continue strongly with the remainder of the expenditure ($76,000) being met from our well managed reserves."

On the COVID-19 pandemic, MRPS has reassured the public that its operations would continue operating 24 hours a day, with its rescue boats remaining available for assistance when required.

"We will continue to provide the public with accurate weather observations and BOM forecasts and we will continue to provide fire communication services for both Hunter Valley and Lower Hunter Valley RFS during the overnight periods; dispaching units and managing incidents for bush, grass and domestic fires;a s well as fire alarms and motor vehicle accidents and dispatching community first responders when requested," MRPS unit commander Colin Foote said.

"I want to stress that the safety and security of members, visitors and guests remains the organisation's highest priority.

"We take great pride in maintaining the highest standards of service during times of crisis. As a further precaution, Marine Rescue NSW has directed that all other non-essential activities be suspended until further notice. This has resulted in the closure of the gift shop and cottage museum, and closure of the radio room to the public."