Marine Rescue Port Macquarie skipper Raymond Angel nominated for Rotary NSW Emergency Services Community Award

There are two sides to Port Macquarie skipper Raymond Angel. There’s a jovial streak as he casually laughs about the time he rescued the same boat three times with Marine Rescue. The story turns more serious as he remembers picking up a boatie after their yacht and everything in it had burnt to the waterline and sunk off Hathead.

Mr Angel is in the running for a Rotary NSW Emergency Services Community Award on August 2. The awards recognise outstanding and unsung community service performed by paid and volunteer members of NSW Emergency Service Agencies.

The cheerful skipper joined Marine Rescue Port Macquarie in May 2015, rising from recruit to skipper in just over three years. Along the way he invested more than 730 hours aboard Marine Rescue vessels across 56 call-outs.

“I was thinking about going to join the soup kitchen to help cook, it was a toss up for either but I went here first and I’ve been here ever since,” he jokes. “It works like a well oiled machine in a crisis. There’s nothing better than getting a call out and the look on the blokes faces when you find them, because there’s no one coming to get them. It’s not like the highway, you can’t just flag someone down for a lift.”

There’s also hardened steel beneath the good-humoured nature. Mr Angel once served as a captains cook in the Royal Australian Navy from 1971 to 1981. The sailor completed tours on HMA Leeuwin, Cerberus, Albatross, Hobart and Creswell including a serving on his favourite, an Australian-built Daring class destroyer called HMAS Vampire.

“I was born in Leeton, went to school in Kempsey and I joined the Navy from South West Rocks,” he said. “Can’t seem to get away from the coast. I’ve gone as far as I want to go and I’m happy to be a skipper who can teach new recruits my knowledge. Being a skipper is having the responsibility for the three other lives on the vessel, you have to take it seriously. It’s a full time job with all the people driving the four vessels and keeping them on the water. It just takes a bit of due diligence to take some extra care with the equipment.

“It’s a job while you’re not doing a job.”

Mr Angel is one of four Marine Rescue nominations and the only nomination for the Mid-North Coast. He is nominated beside staff from Fire and Rescue NSW, NSW Ambulance, NSW State Emergency Services, NSW Rural Fire Service and NSW Volunteer Rescue Association.
Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott said the awards honour everyday citizens who have given decades of public service.

“We are indebted to all our unsung heroes and will never take for granted their commitment to protecting the community,” said Mr Elliott. “Emergency services workers and volunteers give so much of themselves to the community and ask so little in return. This year’s finalists have almost five centuries’ combined service and I thank them all for their exemplary efforts.”

Nominees will attend an awards presentation dinner on Friday, August 2 in Bankstown. There will also be nominations for a $1000 Dorothy Hennessy OAM Emergency Services Youth Scholarship to be decided by a Rotary NSW panel on the night.