'Huge leap' in technology for Marine Rescue radio operators

Batemans Bay Marine Rescue radio operators Greg Irvine and Peter Vark with updated radio equipment including new touch screens at their Hanging Rock headquarters.
Batemans Bay Marine Rescue radio operators Greg Irvine and Peter Vark with updated radio equipment including new touch screens at their Hanging Rock headquarters.

Batemans Bay Marine Rescue radio operators are saying good bye to hand-held radios and hello to digital technology at their Hanging Rock headquarters.

The modernisation symbolises one of the final steps for a black spot-free Far South Coast, Batemans Bay unit commander Richard Blundell said.

Technology was also being upgraded at Moruya and Round Hill, west of Catalina.

With the extended coverage, operation areas would overlap, and volunteers could hear communication from boats not usually in their area.

Some of the older radios that were pulled out to install the newer touch-screen versions.

Some of the older radios that were pulled out to install the newer touch-screen versions.

"It's state-of-the-art technology that's going in there," Mr Blundell said.

"One of the reasons we're doing it is because they're upgrading a lot of the infrastructure up and down the South Coast.

"For boaties going out on the water, there's a really good chance anybody up and down the coast will hear them."

Old radio aerials were stripped from the roof and replaced with new aerials for better coverage.

In the radio room, operators were getting to used to selecting radio channels via touch screens, and receiving information via head sets.

"That headset is a bluetooth headset, so they can get up, go to the kitchenette, make a cup of tea or coffee and they can hear any calls that come in," he said.

"They just go back to the radio room and answer the calls without having to worry about missing anything."

Although most of the radio operators weren't millennials, they were excited about the new technology.

"The technology shift is going to be the biggest challenge for us in terms of our aging demographic in the base. The operators have a set way of doing things," he said.

"But I've got to say, most of them are really excited about it."

Mr Blundell said the technology shift was a huge leap for the base.

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