YEARS of hard work will come to fruition for Yamba's rescue ski support crew this month, with the official opening of their rescue facility on Hickey Island.
For Surf Life Saving Far North Coast's Bill Onslow, who first made inquiries about the asbestos-ridden "little green shed" on Hickey Island in November 2012, it is a personal achievement.
The little building is unrecognisable, he says, with a new floor, walls, floating dock and a fresh paint job.
Taking pride of place inside is the service's rescue jet ski, used to assist the Yamba SLSC with crowd control, patrolling and search and rescue operations from Iluka to Angourie Point.
It was an expensive operation even with a $24,000 NSW Government Community building partnership. Members of Yamba jet ski club spent an additional $30,000 on the project but Mr Onslow said it was worth it.
He said the rescue ski was an invaluable asset to the area, with the ability to respond faster than other craft.
"The inflatable boats are good for a mass rescue, but for one on one situation, and for getting from A to B, a jet ski is more efficient - it can get to The Iluka Bluff in about 10 minutes," he said.
Six trained personnel are on call 24/7.
"In the busy periods we are on the water from 10am to 3pm every weekend.," he said.
"We had one search over summer, and about five rescues this season."
And it's not only people they're looking out for - shark patrols have escalated this summer.
"Three weeks ago I happened to be up at Pippi beach near Flat Rock," he said.
"It was an overcast day and a good-sized white pointer came right up close about 50m from the shore, in the break. He rolled over and winked his eye at me and then cruised off and didn't look back. He was a good four metres; bigger than the jet ski."
Thenewly finished rescue facility will be officially opened at 2.30pm on February 27.