Alan shared some stories and thoughts from his time in the Victorian Water Police - and stimulated some discussion about what "old" means wink
Alan is currently our Area Commander of uniformed Police, but prior to that he had many years in the Water Police, based in Williamstown. After 9/11 he was one of 4 selected to develop a tactical force to deal with terrorism, using the air wing and suitable boats.  He travelled for 18 months internationally, researching the issues and ways of dealing with them, and is confident that we have the ability to deal with any likely threats in Port Phillip Bay.
 
When Richard Mostard resigned in 2010, Alan moved to this area, where we now have 6 water police, covering the coast from the NSW border to Westernport Bay.  With the expanding tourism in this area (Luke for a start, although he claims he has never needed rescuing), they rescue a lot of yachties from the lakes and the ocean. Alan is very proud of the new 12 metre Keywest (??Quaywest??) catamaran with 800hp jet propulsion, which can safely manage difficult ocean rescues.
 
He told a couple of stories of his time in the Water Police.
 
He remembers one Christmas on Lake Wellington, when the wind picked up unexpectedly, and he received a call from a man, wife and old dog on a timber cruiser.  Forty minutes later he reached the area and started to encounter bits and pieces from the boat, and then the cabin, floating in a line with the current. They then found (and rescued) the dog, in a lifejacket – a good sign!  Soon after, the man was found, connected with a line to his unconscious wife. All recovered well.
 
A couple of years ago, there was a plane crash at Essendon airport in which some US tourists died.  The very next day, there was a call that some swimmers were in trouble at Lake Tyers Beach.  Alan and his crew of one were in a small fibreglass runabout that day, not at all suitable for surf, but had no option, with the family having spent 40 minutes in the water already, and caught in a rip that was not bringing them inshore  A father and daughter were stranded, and, to make it more difficult, they spoke no English.  Alan envisaged the Australian tourist industry collapsing in a heap, with two consecutive days of multiple tourist fatalities.
 
The boat was unable to get close to the swimmers, so Alan made the decision, with trepidation, to send his partner, a stronger swimmer than he is, into the very dangerous water with a couple of boat fenders for flotation.  Happily, all the swimmers were rescued, but the outcome could have been much less satisfactory.
 
Now Alan is back with uniformed Police, with around 50 members doing their best for the community.  He noted that it important to BE an authority, not just IN authority. The position requires credibility and integrity, gained through experience.
 
Leah thanked Alan for his most interesting talk.
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