Kangaroo Island is getting a new state-of-the-art marine rescue vessel to help keep local and visiting boaters safe.
The 8.4-metre aluminium, trailerable vessel being built by Nautic Star in Lonsdale, Adelaide should be ready for service in nine months time.
Emergency Services minister Vincent Tarzia and SA State Emergency Services (SASES) manager marine operations Darryl Wright brought over the big $502,000 cheque to present to the KI Coast Guard volunteers.
The cheque from the Volunteer Marine Rescue division of SASES was presented to commander Ian Boxer, training officer Peter Harvey and other volunteers at their base in Kingscote on Tuesday, October 20.
"It was a privilege to meet the members of Kangaroo Island's Australian Volunteer Coast Guard service and inform them of official funding approval for a new tow and rescue boat," Mr Tarzia said.
He said the state government was grateful to all volunteers, who serve in marine rescue units.
A new vessel had been earmarked for KI around four years ago and the funding came from the VMR's vessel replacement fund.
"We are very pleased this new vessel will create a safe workplace for our crews," Mr Boxer said. "It will serve the local and wider community for many years to come."
Mr Harvey said the new vessel would be fitted out with all the latest search-and-rescue equipment, including a forward looking infrared or FLIR camera, used for night operations.
Other features include suspension seats, a rear-facing camera for towing safety, a radar system and all the latest electronics.
On the back will be twin 250hp Yamaha outboard engines.
But perhaps most importantly, the cabin is fully enclosed from the elements, something missing on KI's current rescue vessel, the Pedro Warman.
The Pedro Warman is an former SA Police water operations vessel and was donated to the KI Coast Guard about 12 years ago.
Mr Harvey said the old fibreglass Shark Cat vessel had served the unit well, but it lacked modern technology and also had the crew exposed when responding to emergencies in rough weather.
The Pedro Warman and KI unit were involved in the recent search and rescue mission for the missing vessel "Margrel" that went missing after leaving Port Lincoln in early September.
The initial search saw the Pedro launched at Emu Bay to search the Island's north coast as far west as Cape Borda in substantial seas, Mr Harvey said.
The Margrel with a damaged propeller and its crew of two was blown south of the Island as far out as the continental shelf, out of mobile coverage, before being blown eastward to near the mouth of the Murray River.
After being rescued and towed back to Victor Harbor, the Margrel was subsequently found broken up on the Coorong coast and its skipper Tony Higgins is still missing, presumably lost at sea.
Back to KI's new rescue vessel, the Nautic Star factory will keep SASES and the local volunteers appraised of its construction progress with regular photos and reports.
The KI Coast Guard unit meanwhile is keen for new membership and anyone interested can attend the monthly meetings on the third Wednesday of each month at 6.30pm at the base on Woolmitt Road, Brownlow.
Or contact training officer Peter Harvey on 0427 476 997.