marine-rescuers-get-tech-revampHelping Inverloch SES go high tech last week were Paynesville Marine Electronics technicians Chris Bennett and Frank Devries, alongside unit deputy controller Rod Phillips (far left) and controller Ang Chiodo (far right). G014014

MARINE rescue volunteers from Inverloch State Emergency Service (SES) will be able to respond to emergencies more safely this summer after the group’s boat received a state-of-the-art electronic overhaul.
Ageing electronics on the group’s vessel were replaced with high tech screens and controls last week.
Frank Devries from Paynesville Marine Electronics, the company tasked with installing the new equipment, said the boat’s original electronics were around eight years old.
“The boat has been upgraded with a brand new, high definition colour radar which will give far clearer readings of shorelines and ocean depth,” Frank said.
“We’ve also installed a new depth sounder which will give rescuers a better indication of what’s underwater, giving them a greater chance to spot whether a vessel has sunk.”
Highly advanced auto-pilot technology has also been added to the boat, which promises to be more effective in tracking the vessel’s course and position.
Inverloch SES unit controller, Ang Chiodo, said the upgrade – which was made possible following constant fundraising and grant applications – has the entire squad, made up of 20 volunteers, excited.
“It’s going to make it much safer for all our volunteers during rescues, particularly in rough seas at night,” Ang said.
“We had some very difficult rescues last summer and the new technology will allow us to help people more quickly.”
The emergency service is now looking ahead to add one final upgrade – a thermal imaging camera, which will be mounted on top of the cruiser.
Fundraising for this addition has already started, with volunteers targeting $27,000 to make the upgrade a reality.
Volunteers are also looking to local businesses for the donation of an iPad, since the new equipment streams radar screen shots via Wi-Fi, allowing for easier debriefs and follow-up reports.