’Hard slog’: A new rescue boat confirmed
AFTER a hefty and generous donation by the QCoal Foundation, Bowen Volunteer Marine Rescue have confirmed they have reached their goal for a brand new rescue boat, which has been two years in the making.
Responsible for patrolling 7000km sq of water the Bowen VMR is a volunteer-run service that has been operating in the area for more than 50 years.
Chief executive officer of QCoal Foundation Sylvia Bhatia said they were pleased to be able to help a vital service as the VMR were "critical community infrastructure".
"They had one of the oldest boats in Queensland, having been in the fleet for over 18 years," she said.
"We were a bit surprised that local infrastructure had reached that level but were happy to contribute to that project."
After more than 18 months of fundraising Ms Bhatia said the efforts by VMR were "remarkable".
"The full amount was about $560,000 and when we gave the grant they were very close," she said.
"It's important when you give a gift, that it creates lasting change."
VMR fundraising co-ordinator Ted Gatkowski said there were still steps to be taken but they expected the new vessel to be completed in October.
"We're in contract negotiations with the builders," he said.
"We are at a point where we can go ahead and are looking at probably October for the new boat."
Fundraising for the new vessel was a big project, with Mr Gatkowski saying it took about two years to get the funds together.
Mr Gatkowski said the QCoal Foundation were a "major contributor" and gave them a "big boost" toward reaching their goal.
"It's been a hard slog but the community have supported us and they'll get the benefits from it, especially the boating community," he said.
"QCoal has certainly helped us get to a point where we are, we've got the contract happening and we're away."