Marine Rescue Port Douglas giving high school students a step into a maritime career


Karlie Brady


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(Front L-R) Mossman High School students: Floyd Gallaway, Ashton Davenport, Kirah-may Tanner, Darci Maunder, and MRPD President Ross Wood. (Back L-R) MRPD Skippers Frank Baars, Tom Patts, and Steve Macrae. Image: Supplied.

This year, Marine Rescue Port Douglas (MRPD) and Mossman High School teamed up to establish a new program that offered year 11 and 12 students the opportunity to train to become Commercial Maritime Coxswains.

A Coxswain is a person in charge of the navigation and steering of a boat and upon completion of their training, students will be equipped with the necessary skills to command a commercial vessel up to 12 metres.

Four students participated and have recently graduated as qualified Crew and are pressing on with Coxswain training through the MRPD association with the Volunteer Marine Rescue Association of Queensland training program.

The 2019 program occupied one afternoon a week with students gaining credit towards their schooling.

Following its success, Mossman State High School has asked for the program to be expanded to one full day a week with around 10 students eager to enrol for the 2020 year.

Mossman State High School Principal, Michelle Lyons, said the feedback from students and their families following this year’s program has been terrific.

“We are delighted to work with the MRPD team to expand the program in 2020,” she said.

“Our students are being provided with a fantastic opportunity to receive real-life relevant training.”

MRPD Student Training Coordinator, Steve Macrae, said the MRPD wanted to provide a greater service to the community and thought if they could extend Coxswain training to school students it could give them a step into a career in the maritime industry.

“The unemployment rate in the Shire is fairly high so for kids to get a job they often need to leave town or have a qualification, so we thought we might be able to give them that training so that maybe they can get a job within the area,” he said.

“The enthusiasm and commitment of our first group this year has provided an exciting new aspect for our operation.

“Our members are looking forward to next year’s program and are pleased to expand our contribution to the community that has provided us such terrific support in the past,” Mr Macrae said.

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