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OUR HISTORY

Origins overview

The origins of Volunteer Marine Rescue Western Australia (VMRWA) can be traced back to the early 1970's with the establishment of the first Sea Rescue Groups.

Their number grew to 25 in 1987. The differences in the way metropolitan and regional Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) groups operated resulted in the formation of two representative bodies.

The Metropolitan groups formed the West Coast Marine Search and Rescue Association and the Regional groups formed Volunteer Marine Rescue WA (VMRWA).

In 2002, all VMR groups in WA moved under the umbrella of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority.

Chronological history

1973-74
The first volunteer sea rescue groups were established or forming at various locations throughout Western Australia.


1975

A representative body at the State level, Volunteer Sea Search and Rescue Association (VSSRA), was formed.

 

1987-88
By this time a total of 25 Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) groups had been established under their own constitutions as incorporated associations to meet local needs.

All groups were members of VSSRA and were encouraged to attend or be represented at VSSRA council meetings.

 

1989

The Marine Emergency Management Scheme (MEMS) was established, detailing the management arrangements for marine search and rescue within the scope of State responsibility under Commonwealth/State arrangements.

Under MEMS the responsibility for development, maintenance and implementation of the scheme was allocated to the WA Marine Search and Rescue Coordinating Committee.
 
1995
23 groups adopt the use of the VMR block of radio call signs across the state.

There were significant differences between the metropolitan and regional volunteer marine rescue organisations which resulted in the formation of two representative bodies.

The Metropolitan groups formed the West Coast Marine Search and Rescue Association. The Regional groups formed Volunteer Marine Rescue WA (VMRWA).


1997

The Minister for Police and Emergency Services transferred coordination of marine rescue from WA Water Police to the newly forming Fire and Emergency Services Authority (FESA).
 
The Police remained the Hazard Management Authority (HMA).

 

2002
Formal recognition of the Marine Rescue Service as an Emergency Service was incorporated into the Fire and Emergency Service Act. All VMRWA groups moved under the umbrella of the Fire and Emergency Services Authority.


2003

Volunteer Marine Rescue Western Australia (VMRWA) was invited to nominate a representative to the FESA board, and the VMR Consultative Committee was formed. VMRWA also formulated its first formal Strategic Plan.


2014
VMRWA was formally recognised by the State Government as the peak body in WA for all things VMR.

Ministerial appointments to the newly formed Volunteer Advisory Committee provided the vehicle for VMR Volunteers to discuss and make recommendations on strategic VMR issues which were available to government and DFES alike.


2015
VMRWA replaced DFES as the West Australian representative at the National Volunteer Marine Search and Rescue Committee recognised as the peak body for VMR nationally.

VMRWA today

Today, there are 38 member groups supporting marine rescue in WA. More than 1,400 volunteers dedicate their time to help make our coastal waters safe for everyone to use and enjoy.

VMRWA maintains a strong affiliation and works closely with our partner and governing body, the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES)