Officially opened on the 26th November 2016, the Fremantle Sea Rescue Operations Centre (ROC) is the result of countless volunteer hours, the extreme generosity of a group of local businesses and individuals and grants from both state and federal government.
Moore & Meehan Radio Room
Most importantly, the ROC top floor is home to the More & Meehan Radio Room; one of the most advanced facilities of its kind in the country. From this facility our volunteers maintain VN6DI, our 24Hour, 365 day radio listening watch and vessel log on service. Annually, VN6DI logs around 30,000 radio calls from the boating public. VN6DI is our communications hub, all phone and radio calls to Fremantle Sea Rescue are answered here, before being passed onto the on water operations team as required.
Utilising WAVE, the latest in Radio Over IP technology, a single operator can monitor all 11 marine radio frequencies from one console, or share the workload with other operators across a total of 5 consoles. WAVE is also remotely accessible, allowing operations personnel to listen and even transmit from anywhere in the world via their mobile device if required. This is particularly useful in on-call situations, as crews can listen in on an incident unfolding whilst at home, or even in transit to the rescue vessel, ensuring they receive the most accurate information in real time. WAVE also enables after hours monitoring from home bases, which means our volunteers can maintain VN6DI from the comfort of their own homes at night, whilst still using the radio infrastructure installed on the ROC. WAVE also records and archives all incoming and outgoing calls, individually separated by channel, to make sure no details are missed and incidents can be reviewed.
The ROC is inside the heritage listed Cantonment Hill Signal Station, built in 1956 for the Port of Fremantle. The signal station was short lived in its intended role, being replaced in 1964 by a similar facility built on top of the new Fremantle Ports administration building on Victoria Quay. The building then moved into department of defence ownership before it was sold back to the City of Fremantle in 2010. Over the years, the building fell into decay and was extensively vandalised inside and out.
In May 2014, Fremantle Sea Rescue submitted a response to the City of Fremantle’s request for expressions of interest for the ‘Establishment and Activation of Cantonment Hill Signal Station and surrounding area’. Finally in May 2015, after a lengthy process of negotiations and community consultation, the decision to award Fremantle Sea Rescue with the lease of the building was made.
Due to poor state of the building, the City of Fremantle committed to a range of remedial works, including new windows, handrails and external paint. After these works were completed, the keys were handed over to the group in the first half of 2016.
The heritage value of the building was enhanced by both its restoration and continuing its original use, with the top floor now again dedicated to marine communications and commanding clear views of boating movements in the harbours, out to sea, to Rottnest Island, and up the Swan and Canning Rivers.