Marine Rescue could be without boat for months
UPDATE 6.30am: IT could be months before Ballina's Marine Rescue unit can get a boat in the water following last week's capsizing of the unit's existing vessel on the Ballina bar.
Marine Rescue regional controller Stephen Reading said, until then, the town and its infamous bar would have to be covered by units at Evans Head and Brunswick Heads and by Ballina's Jet Boat.
"Ballina is being covered by Brunswick Heads to the north and Evans Head to the south," Mr Reading said.
"In Ballina itself there's the Jet Boat Rescue.
I have been on that boat since it was brand new, so it is sad
"This is not an ideal situation, and it could be months before we get another boat on the water."
Marine Rescue Ballina commander, Norm Lannoy, said the incident had affected all members of the close-knit unit.
"I have been on that boat since it was brand new, so it is sad," he said.
"It's a terrible thing to happen."
All three crew members who had been admitted to hospital after the capsize have since been released.
Police have said they would nominate the three men for bravery awards because they put their own lives at risk to try to save the people in the other boat.
Mr Reading said Saturday's salvage of the Marine Rescue boat had been a major operation, but had gone smoothly.
It took an excavator, a four-wheel drive, a big trailer and the experts from Ballina Slipway to salvage the wreckage of Marine Rescue Ballina's boat on Saturday.
Mr Reading said he expected a decision on the boat from insurance assessors "fairly quickly".
APRIL 22: INSURANCE assessors are still to take a look at it, but things look grim for Ballina's loved Marine Rescue boat after it was salvaged from South Ballina at the weekend.
Marine Rescue NSW regional controller Stephen Reading said retrieving the boat, which washed up nearly a week ago after flipping during a rescue on the Ballina bar, had been a major operation.
"It took an excavator, a 4WD and a big trailer to get it out," he said.
"The boat isn't looking too good, to be honest.
"But the insurance assessors haven't looked at it yet, so we'll be waiting for them to make a decision.
"We expect that to happen fairly quickly."
The vessel capsized during the rescue of a 36-foot motor cruiser which was in trouble on the Ballina bar on April 15.
The Marine Rescue boat washed up, still upside down, at South Ballina the following day several kilometres from South Wall.
The broken remains of the motor cruiser it had been trying to help washed up a few hours later.