Change at the top for Bremer Bay sea squad

Daryna ZadvirnaGreat Southern Herald
Bremer Bay Marine Rescue’s Mick Batchelor and Jason Willcocks.
Camera IconBremer Bay Marine Rescue’s Mick Batchelor and Jason Willcocks. Credit: Liam Croy

After 12 years as commander, Mick Batchelor has handed over the helm to a new leader of Bremer Bay Marine Rescue.

Jason Willcocks, a squad volunteer for the past seven years, said he was excited about his new role.

“I just thought it was time to let Mick have a bit of a break,” he said.

Mr Batchelor said he loved every minute as commander and was glad he joined the service after selling his farm and moving to Bremer Bay 14 years ago.

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He said Mr Willcocks was the perfect candidate to take over and guide the 12-member squad.

“I think he has a lot more energy than me, and he has a heap of motivation to keep the boys going, so I’m pretty happy,” Mr Batchelor said.

“My advice to Jason would just be to always keep the boys in the loop and always make everyone feel informed and involved.”

Bremer Bay Marine Rescue's Mick Batchelor and Jason Willcocks. PIcture: Liam Croy
Camera IconBremer Bay Marine Rescue's Mick Batchelor and Jason Willcocks. PIcture: Liam Croy

Forty-five-year-old Mr Willcocks previously owned a mechanical shop in town and has recently leased a farm near Bremer Bay.

Becoming a commander was something he had aspired to.

“The training is great, it’s a really good bunch of guys and I love getting out on the water,” he said.

“It was an easy decision.”

Mr Willcocks said the 2012 Doubtful Islands fire was one of the most memorable missions during his time as a volunteer.

“Going around to the Doubtful Islands during the fire to recover some people off the beach sticks in my mind the most,” Mr Willcocks said.

“Just the sea conditions, the wind and the smoke that day were really trying; it really pushed us to the limit.

“It certainly gave me a lot of confidence in the Naiad boat we have.”

Mr Willcocks said he had big shoes to fill.

“I’ll be working with Batchy pretty closely for the first six or 12 months to learn the ropes,” he said.

“Being part of the squad can put you in some quite demanding situations, but everyone pulls together really well.”

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