Photography by Paul Sadler
R Marine Riley, a Riviera Dealer on Sydney’s Northern beaches, made a commitment to the safety of the water loving community in a big way. It is giving a $25,000 donation for every boat ordered in 2016 from their dealership to support the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.
In the tragic Sydney to Hobart race of 1998, which saw the sinking of five boats and the death of six sailors, the Westpac Life Saver Aircraft 1 was the first rescue helicopter on the scene. That incident was just one of the more than 23,000 lifesaving missions the service had performed in the part 43 years. It responds to dozens of ocean related incidents annually.
The service is free of cost to the people of NSW and it is the largest non-profit Aviation Search and Rescue service in Australia. But it is now desperately in need of its own life saving mission.
The charity has a turnover of approximately $4.8 million per year. Of which Westpac, the naming sponsor, only provides $1.4 million. The NSW Government provides $1.1million, a reduction in their commitment of $1.5 million in 2013. The emergency service also faces the challenge of replacing their current fleet of aircraft at a cost of $20 million. The deficit of funds has to be continuously raised through fundraising, public donations, corporate support and other service based opportunities, such as industry training.
R Marine Riley, located on Sydney’s Northern beaches, is a boat brokerage firm of Riviera and Belize Motor Yachts. They also provide a full service facility. Their donation reflects their commitment to their community and clients. The company has long been supporting the Westpac Life Saver Helicopter – having raised $44,000 for the non-profit over the past 3 years.
Our relationship to this great charity comes from the fact that if our clients were ever in trouble, that’s how they would be rescued. It’s our commitment to their safety, their confidence. We want our clients to go out re-assured that they would be looked after, if anything were to happen,” says Mark Riley, CEO of R Marine Riley, Church Point, NSW.
This is the first time the service has ever received this type of support from a business within the boating industry. It couldn’t have come at a better time: the organisation is working hard to build income streams to address immediate and long-term needs.
“The cost of running a world class emergency aviation rescue service is significantly in the millions,” says Joanne Baxter, Corporate Fundraising and Partnerships Manager, Westpac Life Saver Helicopter (Greater Southern Region). “However we have a great team who run our operation effectively to ensure that every cent has an impact on our core purpose of saving lives. Our view has always been that the cost of keeping us in the air should never be measured against a life saved.”
“Not all of our rescues have happy endings, but the men and women in our crew have devoted themselves to this job, often placing their own lives at risk – it’s really important we let the public know that we have their backs, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.”
Anyone is welcomed to make a donation to the Westpac Life Saver Helicopter through their website: www.lifesaver.org.au
Businesses who are interested in becoming a corporate or community partner may contact Joanne Baxter on (02) 9694 3160 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org