After 23 years of service, and an incredible journey, Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) Bundaberg’s oldest active skipper Bill Ker has retired.
During his time at VMR Bundaberg Bill has been involved in more than 550 rescue activations and spent more than 1600 hours at sea.
On Saturday morning VMR Bundaberg hosted a function to honour the retirement of Bill from the active skipper’s list.
The 83-year-old has been a rescue vessel commander for 23 years and he decided the 2am phone activations weren’t getting any easier.
It was in the late 1990s, after a lengthy career as a navy clearance diver, that Bill decided to give his time to volunteer with Volunteer Marine Rescue.
“Bill joined VMR in 1998 after a career in the navy as a clearance diver, chemical industry manager and then retired yachtie,” VMR Bundaberg’s Graham Kingston said.
“When he arrived in Bundaberg he joined the radio room and then duty skipper list, where he was involved in 555 activations, 1,618 hours of sea time,”
“One of Bill’s claims to fame is the number of times his roster was involved in jobs of over 15 hours duration outside Fraser Island and often in bad weather.”
Graham said along with committing hours to manning the ship, Bill was also a long-term management committee member, unit training coordinator and vessel maintenance officer.
And on his retirement his dedication and expertise will be surely missed.
“His extensive marine experience saw him as valuable mentor to upcoming skippers and crew,” Graham said.
“We believe Bill was the oldest active skipper across VMR Squadrons in Queensland.
“He has retained remarkable fitness, with radio operators getting a mid-morning call when he was on duty to advise contact numbers while he was doing an hour of laps in the swimming pool.”
VMR President Erwin Hoffmann spoke about Bill’s VMR commitment at a morning tea on Saturday morning and presented him with a Meritorious Service Award and his duty shingle.
Retired skipper and former VMR Secretary Graeme Morley was presented with his duty shingle also during the morning.
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