Retiring Water Police Snr Sgt Greg Trew with a framed present from Shoreline Marine Fabrication of new patrol boats.
WATER Police Senior Sergeant Greg Trew (63) wants State Government departments to bring together their sea rescue abilities after he retires from 33 years with WA Police this week.
“The future challenge is to align Government resources and services – including those in the departments of Transport, DFES, Fisheries, and Parks and Wildlife – so they co-ordinate, and then together reduce costs and improve services,” he said.
Snr Sgt Trew got Department of Transport (DoT) staff to man communications at Water Police’s North Fremantle headquarters, saving police wages and putting DoT in contact with its patrol boats’ work.
Technology, emergency beacons (EPIRBs), mobile telephones and skipper training have changed the job in his 10 years at Water Police.
“Boats now carry EPIRBS, and it’s mandatory all around the coast, so when one is set off we now know there’s a problem, we know where they are, and with the advent of skippers’ tickets most people are more aware of the dangers of being at sea,” Snr Sgt Trew said.
“But people are still leaving the bilge bungs out of their boats before they launch.”
After joining as a 29-year-old in 1979, he had long periods in the forensic, surveillance and security management sections of WA Police.
“I applied for Water Police when I saw a position, and I was always involved with the water and had a basic boat coxswain’s ticket.” he said.
In WA at any time, Water Police conduct rescues and searches, investigate thefts, provide vessels for other police, and enforce recreational and commercial boating law.
Tragedy is part of the job.
“A couple of years ago a couple travelling around Australia drowned at Coral Bay, leaving their two orphaned kids on the beach,” Snr Sgt Trew said.
“Dealing with a situation like that, when there are kids standing on a beach while their rest of the family is spread around Australia, is a tough gig.”
But there is also humour to be found.
“We once had a report of someone breaking onto a boat, and promptly boarded it, only to find an amorous couple ‘otherwise engaged’, who hadn’t told the owner they were going to use his boat in Mosman Bay,” Snr Sgt Trew said.
Married with four adult children, his immediate plans are to “go to Indo for a surf with some geriatric mates”, and a kite surfing safari to Sumbawa.