Tags: Boating. Moreton Bay. Bribie Island. Brisbane. VMR
Originally from the land-locked country of Rhodesia, newly elected VMR Bribie Island Commodore Liz Radajewski admits that her only experience with water-based activities prior to when she and husband Henryk moved to Australia was her time windsurfing during a seven-year period in Capetown and she told me that at that time, she had no real interest in boats.
Featured Image (above): Loaded with hi-tech electronics – the 11.3 metre Bribie 1
Having made the move to the land down under in 1987, Liz and Hendryk settled in Brisbane before starting a business which catered to the electroplating industry and supplied customers throughout Queensland and as far away as Darwin. Liz explained that eventually, after having seen the business experience considerable growth, the time came to put it on the market. ‘The process of electroplating is not used to anywhere the extent that it used to be,’ said Liz. ‘A lot of car parts, bumper bars and the like, that used to be chrome were being made out of moulded plastic, so this had resulted in a downturn in the industry and prompted us to sell.
We had already moved to Bribie Island in 2002 so, when the business sold in 2004, we retired and began to enjoy island lifestyle,’ she said. Whilst still living in Brisbane, the couple had ventured into the world of boating and when they moved to the island, they upgraded their tinny to a 560 Haines which was eventually replaced with an 8.54 metre Sports Cruiser. ‘As boat owners, we did the responsible thing and joined VMR in 2003. The next year the new Bribie 1 was being commissioned and we went along to the ceremony,’ Liz recalled.
‘I had the opportunity to sit in the vessel and I marvelled at all the hi-tech electronics, all the while wishing that I could operate something like that. I thought, “well, maybe one day”,’ she said. It was in 2008, after realising that she needed to find something to be involved, that Liz applied to go onto crew with VMR Bribie Island. ‘I thought that this would mean washing boats as well as just helping out in general, look at where I am now,’ exclaimed Liz.
As they say in the movies, this was to be the start of something big and, after participating in courses about navigation, regulations and other necessary requirements, Liz began to advance through the ranks. She described how, when attending an event at the Sandgate VMR, the vessel commander lined everyone up. ‘He was looking at me and I was starting to wonder what I had done wrong when he produced the epaulettes with the two stripes and told me that I was now competent crew. I think that was probably my most memorable moment with the squadron,’ said Liz.
As an indication of how diligently Liz Radajewski applies herself to any challenge that comes her way, it was during 2010 that she attained the status of Coxswain and, in the period between that and when her qualification was upgraded to Commercial Coxswain, she was appointed as Assistant Unit Training Officer. ‘I completed TAE Certificate 4 and have also been appointed by our parent body VMRAQ as a State Assessor,’ Liz told me. ‘In 2016, I took on the role of Vice-Commodore which meant that I had the opportunity to work with a really great committee and that was good fun.
Along with that, my responsibilities also involved making sure that the squadron operated smoothly and efficiently as well as being there to assist the Commodore,’ she said. Volunteer Marine Rescue Bribie Island is well known within the community as an organisation that has proven its capability many times and a contributing factor to this is the up to date equipment that crews are able to use when called upon to perform a rescue or recovery operation.
Naturally, an important part of this equipment is the three vessel in the VMR fleet, the pride of the fleet being the 11.3 metre “Bribie 1” which Liz tells me is loaded with the very latest in hi-tech electronics and powered by three 250hp Yamaha motors. She explained that “Bribie 2” a 7.5 metre vessel is also fitted with the identical range of equipment as “Bribie 1” and this enables it to be used as a training vessel to prepare the crew for a transition to the larger vessel. The third vessel in the fleet is the recently refurbished 5.5 metre “Jonkers Bribie 3” and Liz remarked that, since being refurbished, it is as good as new. Now being named as Commodore, Liz says that she is enjoying the role and points out that she regards being in the position as a way to repay VMR Bribie Island for the wonderful time that she has had since becoming a member. Worthy of note is the fact that she is the first female to be elected to this position at VMRBI.