The Maritime Medal for selfless, outstanding and sustained contribution to the sector has been split between two recipients this year.
The awardee in the category of safety is Chris Mitchell, a legendary designer whose accessible boat models are used in 32 countries to reduce entry barriers to the sport.
In the community category the award went to Mike Jarvin, an industry advocate who has spent more than a quarter of a century nurturing the industry’s up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
The medallists were announced by Parliamentary Secretary for Regional Roads, Maritime and Transport, Kevin Anderson MP and handed out by Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey MP on Friday 4 August at a breakfast ceremony during the Sydney International Boat Show.
For 20 years Chris Mitchell has been a key figure in advancing disabled accessibility through vessel design, infrastructure and advocacy. He is passionate about making sailing more inclusive.
“Sailing is maybe the only sport where you can truly include everyone, as we do in all our class events,” said Mitchell during his acceptance speech at the ceremony. “Over the years we have evolved from being a boat builder into more of a social justice outfit. We know how inclusion benefits the whole community — we are interested in inclusive design in all its aspects, not only sailboats, but also waterfront infrastructure and tourism.”
Mr Anderson paid Mitchell tribute at the award ceremony: “Chris is an inspiration. He volunteers countless hours assisting disabled people to sail around the Shoalhaven.
“His commitment to universal maritime design for the disabled is second to none. Because of Chris’s work, people now have the ability to sail in a dignified manner and in vessels designed to meet their needs.
“Chris is a most worthy recipient of the Maritime Medal and I am proud to see he has been recognised today,” Anderson said.
The second recipient, Mike Jarvin, has spent decades selflessly promoting positive outcomes for the maritime community.
“Mike is so well known by boaties – he is often called Mr Everywhere Man.
“Mike is a mentor of maritime start-ups and provides support, advice and networking to bring the industry together and promote their success.
“Having a longstanding and successful career in the industry, he is knowledgeable across all sectors, including recreational, commercial and maritime property activities.
“While the bulk of us practise safe boating all the time, there are many people in the community that often go above and beyond,” concluded Anderson.
Since the establishment of the award in 2006, 48 medals have been handed out to recognise outstanding contributions by members of the public to the boating and maritime community of NSW.