Carrum Coast Guard passes half century

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Happy birthday: Carrum Coast Guard members and family came together to celebrate 50 years of service. Picture: Gary Sissons

THE Carrum Coast Guard have blown out the candles in celebration of their 50th birthday last week.

The Coast Guard was established in a chook shed half a century ago, and has now grown to a membership of around 50 volunteers.

Carrum volunteer Matt Semmens said the 50 years had been full of history.

“We started in a chook shed at the Patterson River Marina 50 years ago, now we’re quite lucky to have the building we’ve got today at the Paterson River boat ramps. That was purpose built and opened in 1990, so we’ve been there 28 years and still going strong,” he said.

“We’re keeping very busy, we’re based at the busiest boat ramp in Melbourne, so we’ve always got lots of activity going on and lots of calls for help.

Mr Semmens said that changes to the Coast Guard were always occurring, with a few big developments in recent times standing out.

“We’ve come a long way with funding. In the last couple of years with the help of the government, we’re now partially funded for our operation expenses. We’ve renovated and upgraded our buildings and vessels, and we’ve now got a new secondary vessel as well,” he said.

In addition to their work on the water, the Coast Guard gets involved with community events as well.

“We’ve done a lot of public events over the years. We often help with sausage sizzles at local community events, like at the opening of the [Carrum to Bonbeach] bridge a couple of months ago,” Mr Semmens said.

The longest serving members of the Carrum Coast Guard have been there for up to 30 years.

Mr Semmens said the Coast Guard is searching for new members. Volunteers can apply at coastguard.com.au.

First published in the Chelsea Mordialloc Mentone News – 28 November 2018

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