From ship to shore

Thursday 22 April 2021
After fourteen years at sea, former Navy officer and merchant seafarer Edward Caslake decided it was time to transition from ship to shore.
Edward Caslake

Edward Caslake joined AMSA as a Search and Rescue Officer in 2018.

Edward currently works in the AMSA Response Centre, a 24/7-hour operations room, which coordinates Search and Rescue missions across Australia. 

Edward said it was a transition he made so he and wife could settle down and start a family. 

“I started with AMSA in the Response Centre back in August 2018 and it has been a really good transition from ship to shore for me,” Edward said. 

“My wife and I wanted to start a family but I was away for weeks, almost months at a time, which would have been too much once we’d had our daughter and were building that home life.”

As a Search and Rescue Officer, Edward assists in organising search and rescue efforts across Australia’s large designated area of responsibility, which equals about a tenth of the earths surface. 

“As a Search and Rescue Officer, we respond to all manner of alerts across the country. I guess if it floats, flies and fails to do so; we help look after them.

“My interest in this role came from a love of the sea, I have spent the past 14 years of my professional career out on the ocean in the Merchant Navy as well as the Royal Australian Navy.

“I joined the Royal Australian Navy in 2004, I was in for six years as a Maritime Warfare Officer and spent most of my time up in Cairns as a boarding officer on the patrol boats and also in the hydrographic survey space.

“In 2010, I went to the Australian maritime college down at Launceston to become a merchant seafarer. I spent eight years doing that as a second mate driving 80 metre Anchor Handling tugs off the north coast of Australia and the Bass Strait; supplying oil rigs and towing them around when they needed to move. 

“My previous experience helps me in my current job as I know what seafarers are going through, what it’s like to be out on the boat in 60 or 70 knots of wind and sailing through a cyclone. 

“When you’re asking a ship to do something in those conditions, it’s very handy to know what it’s like first hand.”

Edward said an example of an incident he has been involved in since joining AMSA was a request for medical assistance from a yacht 900km east of Fraser Island. 

“Back in April 2019, we had a request from a sailing vessel, the master had a passenger onboard with a medical complaint. 

“After consultation with the doctor, who was actually a doctor also, they decided it was potentially appendicitis and he was in need of medication.

“So our response to that request was to get some medication to our Challenger Jet in Cairns and we simply flew it all the way out to the yacht and parachuted it in a container into the path of the vessel. The vessel was then able to sail on to Noumea for the patient to receive medical assistance. 

“What I found interesting about that job was that no matter where you are, we’re there to help. Even if it’s a simple thing as getting some medication. 

“It’s obviously a long way to go but we’ve got that reach, so I just thought that was pretty cool.”

Further information is on AMSA’s search and rescue capabilities.

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