AEMVF | Malcolm Wilson
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Malcolm Wilson

Organisation: Australian Volunteer Coast Guard


Not long after I bought our first boat, my son and I ran aground on a sand bank behind Dangar Island in Broken Bay. At that time I thought it best if I went for my boat licence and learnt what these green and red poles sticking out of the water were all about.

I then attended a basic seamanship course, put on by one of the volunteer groups, to learn more about boating and shortly afterwards, with my appetite thoroughly wetted, I attended a boat show at Manly. Having been impressed with their mobile radio van and the camaraderie of the members, I joined Coast Guard as an associate

[or radio] member to see what it was all about. I was then able to volunteer to assist with crowd control on Sydney Harbour for the Sydney Hobart yacht races and also safety surveillance on various bridge-to-bridge powerboat and ski races on the Hawkesbury River using my own boat. This activity led me to want to learn more about boating, boat handling and radio skills and also a desire to assist the boating community in a more meaningful way. And so I joined the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard as a regular member.

Having been in banking for many years and in every country town where I was posted, I usually ended up as treasurer of something, so it wasn’t long [six months] before I was volunteered to be Staff Officer [purser] for my Flotilla in Ku-ring-gai at Cottage Point. It was really a case of offering my expertise [such as it was] which came naturally, to assist with a particular function that most people shied away from. From then on it was all-downhill. The following year I was elected as Flotilla Commander and remained in that position for the maximum term of 3 years. This is the most rewarding and challenging position, at the grass roots level, in the Association. You build around you a team of dedicated and enthusiastic hard workers, capitalising on their skills and knowledge as you are responsible for the operational capability and capacity of the flotilla in performing public education courses, radio monitoring, safety, and search and rescue on the waters within your operational area. As well as raising sufficient funds to remain viable, and for administration, public relations and the training of members and working in with other agencies. Much of this is very much hands on but many hands make light work.

Since then as well as doing rostered radio and boat work, SAR and lecturing at public instructions courses, fighting bush fires [from the water], I have somehow found myself on Squadron and National Boards, State Councils and a whole range of other State & Federal representations, rubbing shoulders with Premiers, Ministers and Heads of Agencies, which has been extremely rewarding.

The reality is that teaching others what you have been taught, of providing a service to recreational boaters and assisting those in distress or an emergency is a lot of fun and certainly beats mowing the front lawn.

“Safety By all Means”

Malcolm Wilson ESM
National Captain
Research & Special Projects Directorate
Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association Inc

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