RESC Congratulates Fishability for Historic Launch
Fishability's Mandurah section has created history with the launch of its new boat at the Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club (MOFSC) on Friday 27 August. “M.V Fishability”, constructed locally by Bouvard Marine, is believed to be the first purpose designed and built fishing boat for people with disabilities in Australia.
Fishability’s Mission Statement is “To enhance the well-being and self-esteem of Western Australians living with disabilities by providing and facilitating quality recreational fishing opportunities and experiences.” Riverside ESC has engaged with Mandurah Fishability over several years to deliver very popular jetty-based programs for our students.
The 9.5m twin pontoon boat provides easy access for wheelchair fishers, secured by lock-on clips, and aspiring fishers with other disabilities. The $100,000+ project's funding was first initiated by local volunteer, Hedley Fowler when he obtained a Federal Government grant over 2 years ago.
Newly recognised Mandurah Local Legend Gary Russell-Brown told Mandurah Mail (12 August 2021): "Fishing is one of the highest-participation outdoor activities in Australia." Mayor Rhys Williams described Mr Russell-Brown as a passionate advocate and ally for people with disabilities. Gary has been involved in the local Fishability section since its inception more than 10 years ago.
The State Government followed up with more funding as did several local businesses - notably Alcoa's Peach program and their bankers, AWA Alliance. City of Mandurah contributed as did local tackle stores Tackle World Mandurah and Tackle World Miami (in Falcon). The Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club has provided a pen in its marina at no charge and this will make for easy access for all clients.
Dignitaries at the launch included Andrew Hastie, Federal MP who was involved in the initial grant, local MLAs David Templeman (representing the Minister for Fishing) and Lisa Munday, Mandurah Mayor Rhys Williams together with Deputy Mayor Jenny Green. MOFSC was represented by Acting General Manager Andres Timmermanis and Commodore Kevin Luff.
A large contingent of local Fishability volunteers watched with unabashed pride and excitement as their new boat was officially launched to begin service to the region’s disability community. The Mandurah Boat Program will commence in September and will operate out of the Mandurah Offshore Fishing and Sailing Club. Dates and times will be provided in the near future.
Mr Templeman, a member of the Riverside Schools Board, asked local keen fishing client Hayley Blacknell to assist him with the mandatory bottle of champagne exercise. Several guests were given brief rides on "Fishability" prior to disembarking for refreshments at MOFSC's clubrooms.
On behalf of the Riverside Education Support Centre’s community, Principal Jim Douglas extends congratulations to all involved with bringing this outstanding project to fruition.