THE "bath tub" may have been the nickname for Marine Rescue Wooli's first vessel but, despite its modest status, it symbolised a band of volunteers who cared not only for their own interests but the welfare of others.
Unit commander Richard Taffs joked about how the bath tub was even filled on a couple of rescue missions but it was the dedication of this community that led to its new offshore rescue vessel, which was commissioned in a ceremony yesterday.
Deputy Commissioner of Marine Rescue NSW Heinz Mueller yesterday credited the unit's two founding members Joe and Jean Ensbey, after whom both vessels are named.
"Wooli is recognised as a unique community," he said.
"When I shake the members' hands, I'm also shaking the hand of a RFS member and an SES member."
Marine Rescue NSW has replaced 13 vessels in two years, but inspecting the new boat, J.J. Ensbey II, at Wooli Wharf yesterday, superstition of the number 13 would not put a dampener the celebration.
The rapid-response 9.5m Naiad Rigid Hull Inflatable Boat (RHIB) was built locally by Yamba Welding and Engineering and Bill Collingburn was on hand to make a presentation of a bell for the vessel.
Deputy Commissioner Mueller said Wooli 30 had already demonstrated it had vastly improved marine rescue capability in the area, recently rescuing three people from 15 nautical miles offshore.