Saving lives at sea – priceless

Robin Hoods training at Noosa Coast Guard.

By Margaret Maccoll

Robin John Hood moved from the desert of Alice Springs where he was working in construction to the Noosa Shire on the advice of a foreman 22 years ago and hasn’t left.

“I came here and said, wow, this will do,” he said.

Having lived and been a commercial diver in Darwin for some years Mr Hood got himself a boat on his arrival in the shire and joined the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association.

His extensive service with the coast guard has been recognized with an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in this year’s Queen’s Honours Awards.

“I’m a bit humbled by it,” he said of the award. “It’s not what you expect. I’m feeling just a little proud of myself. It’s just the respect of your peers.”

In addition to having held roles as Sunshine Coast Squadron Commodore from 2010-2015 and QF5 Noosa Flotilla Commander from 2004-2009 Mr Hood has been National Training Commodore since 2013.

“I take great satisfaction in being able to contribute, particularly in the training sector,” he said.

Because of his efforts coast guards across the country can access registered training courses and achieve individual goals.

One of the most rewarding aspects of his coast guard work has been seeing the looks of relief on the faces of people who have been rescued at sea.

Having been involved in a long list of rescues he recalled one where a boat had called in the evening to say they couldn’t start their motor but they were anchored and safe and would sit tight until morning when they would call in.

“The weather turned. There was no call,“ he said. “We went across the bar to search for them. The seas were 3m or more. To say the wife was petrified would have been an understatement. “The absolute look of gratitude on her face when we tied up at Coast Guard – you couldn’t buy that for gold.”

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