A shore thing

Member News image Calendars are one of many ways Coast Guard can connect with their community


As CFA brigades, Australian Volunteer Coast Guard flotillas know their continuity relies on having the right people in the volunteer roles and having the right equipment for the job.


Recruitment, reputation in the community, retention of volunteers and fundraising are vital to the sustainability of a flotilla. 

John McMillan of Queenscliff Volunteer Coast Guard Flotilla believes “the backbone of a strong flotilla is investment in public education, on water training for, and responding to incidents, and our time spent on the shore following a clear community engagement plan in order to connect with the community”.

The shore team that delivers the community engagement plan is a mix of operational and support members who are passionate about sharing the Coast Guard story: who they are, what they do, how they do it, how to be involved or how the community can support them.

Recently, CFA provided additional support to Queenscliff Coast Guard through a grant for an A-frame to promote recruitment messaging.

“We are always on the lookout, appreciative and open to opportunities to enhance what we do for community engagement,” John said.

Queenscliff Coast Guard pursues a very active and successful program of community engagement activities, and raises about $40,000 a year through fundraising to cover its operational costs.

When planning its community engagement, its objectives include:

  • delivery of boating safety education to support the reduction of incidents
  • creating awareness of Coast Guard role, responsibilities and capabilities to raise the profile for recognition, recruitment and support
  • assisting with fundraising to maintain the operation of Coast Guard.

John’s enthusiasm for community engagement comes from Queenscliff Coast Guard’s many years of success in completing its plan and achieving its objectives. Every element of its plan has been reviewed to ensure it's a valuable use of the members' time and enhances their connection with community. 

“All our engagement activities and merchandise are written up as a short business case for awareness and approval from the organisation. This also means other volunteer units can use any elements of our plan which they feel appropriate,” John said. 

The elements of this program are as follows:

  • Community markets
  • Community information sessions
  • Participation in major community events
  • Merchandise
  • Raffles
  • Newsletter
  • Print media
  • Social media
  • Can rattles

For further information about Queenscliff Volunteer Coast Guard contact John McMillan on 0409 686 044 or email john.j.mcmillan@coastguard.com.au


  • Member News imageA - Frame with a magnetised board saves time writing up community messages
  • Member News image Magnets for the A-Frame allow for targeted messages to be promoted
  • Member News image Attending community events with merchandise supports fundraising and awareness raising conversations
  • Member News image Personalised mugs - your name on the back and Coast Guard on the front
  • Member News image Dry Bag and Mooring line for your emergency equipment provides safe and secure storage in one spot
Submitted by Emma Taunt