Marine rescue legend honoured with naming of new boat

Emergency Services commissioner Darren Klemm, Marine Rescue Whitfords commander Geoff Sparrow, Emergency Services Minster Francis Logan, Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton and veteran volunteer Ken Blackie on board the RV Ken Blackie.
Emergency Services commissioner Darren Klemm, Marine Rescue Whitfords commander Geoff Sparrow, Emergency Services Minster Francis Logan, Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton and veteran volunteer Ken Blackie on board the RV Ken Blackie.

MARINE Rescue Whitfords founding member Ken Blackie has been recognised with the naming of the group’s new vessel in his honour.

The $266,000 RV Ken Blackie was officially launched on Sunday by Emergency Services Minister Francis Logan and Mr Blackie at the Marine Rescue Whitfords open day.

Shortly after the launch, the boat was already put to the test after receiving a distress call at sea, which was resolved safely.

The fast and powerful Naiad vessel has an enclosed cab and modern radio and satellite phone technology so for the first time the group can communicate directly with other emergency services personnel.

It also has large windows for maximum visibility and the rear deck is set up for pulling people from the water and treating the injured.

RV Ken Blackie was launched on Sunday.

Mr Blackie said it was “a bit overwhelming” to have a vessel named after him.

“But we’re very pleased to have it so we can continue saving lives,” he said.

Mr Logan said Mr Blackie had dedicated 48 years to helping those who get into trouble on the water.

“It is a fitting tribute that Whitfords Marine Rescue’s new $266,000 vessel has been named in his honour considering his tireless service to his community and others,” Mr Logan said.

“It was a great pleasure to meet Ken and all the crew from Whitfords at their open day.

“They started from very humble beginnings in the mid-70s, even operating out of a bus at one stage, to become one of the State’s busiest and most popular marine rescue groups.”

The official launch of the RV Ken Blackie.

Joondalup MLA Emily Hamilton also praised the organisation and the dedication and life-saving efforts of its volunteers.

“Our community enjoy interacting with the pristine coastline and Marine Rescue Whitfords ensures we are safe on the water,” she said.

“Boat users can take personal responsibility for their safety by educating themselves and preparing their vessels with help from groups such as this one.”

Mr Logan said the Ken Blackie was one of several new boats to be rolled out as part of the State Government’s $19.5 million investment.

Marine Rescue Whitfords, which has 130 active volunteers, carried out more than 210 search and rescue missions over the past year.

Its operational range stretches from Alkimos to City Beach and 30 nautical miles out to sea.

There are 39 marine rescue groups operating along WA’s 13,000km coastline.

New look Marine Rescue Whitfords on show at open day