Firefighter family day on the water | Above & Beyond Boating
Firefighter family day on the water...

The Firefighter Family Day on the Water initiative was created by Above and Beyond Boating to provide a way for the boating community to give back to the dedicated fire fighters that have spent countless hours working to protect our homes, families, wilderness and wildlife from the terrible bush fires. 

Hundreds of volunteer firefighters and their families from brigades around Australia turned out for a fantastic day on the water with members of the boating community. Families arrived at event hubs for a BBQ in the morning before they stepped onboard a variety of boats, including active and cruising sailing vessels, and motor cruisers.

Neil Driscoll, the Founder & Managing Director of Above and Beyond Boating, who established this charity event said it was amazing to see the boating community and volunteer firefighters come together for this day after months of preparation and discussions with multiple organisations to make it happen.

“My wife and I started talking about this event after seeing the devastating fires and the impact it had upon the firefighters. We came to the conclusion that although people signed up to be firefighters, no one signed up for the fire events we’ve seen over the last summer. It must have just been horrendous for the families and our idea was to organise a day on the water to give the families a chance to reconnect”.

The pristine waterways of Northhaven (South Australia), Sydney Harbour and Pittwater (New South Wales), provided a perfect environment for a day of reconnection and relaxation for all involved.

“Today almost makes up for all the days fighting fires” said Ravick Gomes, one of the firefighters.

Darren Vaux, President of the Boating Industry Association, said "A great day out on the water can make a positive and lasting difference to people’s lives and it was an excellent and appropriate way for our industry and boaters to show our thanks and support to firefighters and their families".

"We have no doubt that this will become a tradition as boaters continue to share the joy of the boating lifestyle to those who volunteer their time to protect their communities.”

Peter Lewis, the commodore of Middle Harbour Yacht Club, commented on the importance of this event to their club.

“Its our little way of thanking those who do so much for us and we need to be supportive of this group of people who volunteer and save lives and property for everyone around Australia. We look forward to continuing this program”

Boat owner Jon Linton was one of the first people to sign up to this initiative after it was first announced. He welcomed a family of three onboard his boat Llama 2 for the day.

“Today was a fantastic opportunity for boat owners across Australia to show their appreciation for everything the Firefighters and their families sacrificed to keep us safe. A fun filled day on the water for all has created a link between the two communities that will continue in the future.  Thank you to Above and Beyond Boating for giving us the  opportunity to show how grateful we all are to the real heroes”.

Some event Hubs decided to postpone their events ahead of the weekend, due to potentially unfavourable weather conditions, and not cause long travel distances for some families. However, the structure of the wider Firefighter family day event has allowed for the majority of the connected boats and families to arrange an alternative date to still meet up for a great day on the water.

Above & Beyond Boating would like to extend their thanks to all of the boat owners and charter vessel operators that have provided their boats, to the event Hubs, supporting businesses and all of the volunteers involved for their organisational support to make this event happen.

The Boating Industry Association Ltd is proud to support the Firefighter family day on the water initiative.

What happened...

The Firefighter Family Day on the Water has received tremendous support from the boating community and industry. 

Who attended...

We are very pleased that volunteers and their families joined us from RFS and CFS brigades around Australia. 

What happened?


The Firefighter Family Day on the Water has received tremendous support from the boating community and industry. The event took place at multiple locations across Australia on Sunday 15 March 2020.

The generous and immediate support from the boating community gave us the capacity to connect up to 190 boats to take out firefighters and their families for a great day on the water. This also allowed for the families to choose between an active sailing vessel, a cruising sailing vessel or motor cruiser.

We appreciate the support of the 10 hubs across New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. Nicholas Casey was the (voluntary) project manager for the Firefighter Family on the Water Day.

We were also able to organise a day for some entire brigades, Tina Courtenay was the (voluntary) project manager for the Brigades on Boats.

Sea Sydney Harbour, Hoochie Mumma, Ozcat, Perfect Day Charters, Platinum Cruises, Sydney by Boat, Karisma Cruises, Charter Boat Central, Seabird Seven and Pete Johnson all generously provided their vessels and time for these complimentary charters.

The Balmoral Boat Shed also sponsored their entire facility for the day.

The Telfords Bus & Coach company and CDC NSW kindly assisted some of the brigades attending the event with transportation to and from the event locations.

This support allowed us to invite up to 400 additional firefighters to attend!

Harry West Flags generously supported the Firefighter Family Day initiative by providing on-water identification flags for each boat taking part in the event. 

Who attended...


Families on boats
We are very pleased that volunteers and their families joined us from RFS and CFS brigades around Australia:
  • Albion Park
  • Aldinga Beach
  • Alpine/Aylmerton
  • Arkell
  • Awaba
  • Beacon Hill
  • Beechwood
  • Belrose
  • Berowra
  • Birdwood
  • Blackwood
  • Blaxland
  • Blyth
  • Brookfield
  • Burnside
  • Cambewarra
  • Camden West
  • Carey Gully
  • Casula
  • Catherine field
  • Cawdor
  • Chambers Flat
  • Cherrybrook
  • Clagiraba
  • Coal & Candle
  • Cobbitty
  • Concordia
  • Coomera valley
  • Cumberland Communications
  • Dalkeith
  • Davidson
  • Diamond Beach
  • Dora Creek
  • Duffys Forest
  • Edinglassie
  • Edithburgh
  • Engadine
  • Farmborough Heights
  • Glenhaven
  • Goulburn Mulwaree
  • Greta
  • Grose Wold
  • Hawkesbury
  • Hermitage
  • Hornsby
  • Ingleside
  • Jervois
  • Katoomba
  • Kellyville
  • Killara
  • Ku-ring-gai
  • Kurrajong Heights
  • Laguna Brigade
  • Lake Macquarie
  • lobethal
  • Lochinvar
  • Loftus
  • Logan
  • Londonderry
  • Lyndoch
  • Lynwood Park
  • Mangoola
  • Marulan
  • Medlow Bath
  • Merriwa River
  • Middle Dural
  • Mittagong
  • Morphett Vale
  • Mount Riverview
  • Mt Pleasant
  • Mulgoa
  • Mylor
  • Narara
  • Narellan
  • Oak Flats
  • Otford
  • Picton
  • Pumicestone
  • Roma Street
  • Rothbury
  • RFS Communications
  • Round Corner
  • Sandy Point
  • Schofields
  • Seaford
  • Snowtown
  • South Katoomba
  • Summertown
  • Tailem Bend
  • Tea Tree Gully
  • Terrey Hills
  • Thirlmere
  • Tilligerry
  • Toorbul
  • Tumbledown Dick
  • Two Wells
  • Valley Heights
  • Virginia
  • Wallacia
  • Wallarah
  • Warnervale
  • Wasp creek
  • Wentworthfalls
  • West Nowra
  • Westleigh
  • Willunga
  • Wingello
  • Wongarbon
  • Wyee Point
  • Yankalilla
  • Yerrinbool
Brigades on the water
We also had entire RFS and CFS brigades on the water. The volunteers in the following brigades were invited to enjoy a complimentary charter on Sydney Harbour. 

Related news story here
Related news story here
Not only did the members of the The Oaks Rural Fire Brigade spend countless hours fighting fires, but they also helped out other members of the community affected by the drought. Read more about it here
RFS volunteers from Blackheath and Mount Victoria, with surrounding Blue Mountains brigades. 
The Horsley Park RFS Brigade tragically lost two of their team members in the recent bushfires - Geoffrey Keaton & Andrew O'Dwyer. Learn more
Southern Highlands Remote RAFT Team
Related news story here