Bermagui Marine Rescue has been formally recognised for their incredible work on the Far South Coast protecting the people who enjoy the beautiful coastal region and saving lives.
The team has won the prestigious Volunteer Team of the Year award from The Centre for Volunteering- the peak body in NSW promoting and supporting volunteering and community participation.
Bermagui Unit Commander Caron Parfitt said her team of 35 volunteers was nominated by community member Christine Pay, who witnessed the team in action during a rescue- but the award is in recognition of their overall contribution to the community.
"It was a surprise to us, we heard that we'd been nominated from the Volunteering Centre and I understand from the nomination that Chris put in, that she had nominated us from the work that we do in Bermagui saving lives on the water," said Ms Parfitt.
Ms Parfitt said their most important role was to "keep people and boats safe on the water".
On average the Bermagui team do about 20 rescues per year and have a rescue vessel based in the harbour.
"Our primary function is monitoring our radios and keeping a listen out for that all important mayday call," she said.
"Whilst we fortunately don't get too many of those it's the most important thing that we can do to save lives when somebody is in urgent need of help."
They operate a radio room that is monitored 24 hours per day. During the day it is monitored by Bermagui volunteers and then overnight it is monitored by the state communications centre in Sydney.
Ms Parfitt said their volunteers put in anything from half a day to a day a week, whereas some others are able to put in three or four days a week, either in directly operation roles or administration duties.
She said that everybody works well together and is supportive of one another and the team was very excited to hear they had won an award for their collective efforts.
"I think they feel very honoured to have been nominated by a member of the community," said Ms Parfitt.
"I was so proud of the team and very honoured to represent them," she said.
The announcement of the awards has come after the timely release of the inaugural NSW State of Volunteering Report, which found that volunteers contribute more than $127 billion to NSW annually in social and economic benefits.
The research concluded that every dollar invested in volunteering services across the state returns $3.30 in economic benefit and that the 4.9 million volunteers in NSW contributed 1.5 billion hours to their communities in the past year.
Ms Parfitt said the Bermagui Marine Rescue team was always interested in getting new people involved who are interested in volunteering and she was more than happy for people to contact the unit to find out more.
"Our volunteers come from all walks of life, we provide all the training that's needed to take on the various roles within Marine Rescue."
There are also Marine Rescue bases at Merimbula and Narooma that often work together in conjunction with the Bermagui unit as they have different boats in the various locations to assist with searches or rescues.