Stormy seas


IT was never go­ing to be a long time be­tween the lock­out of the lo­cal ma­rine res­cue vol­un­teers and some­thing se­ri­ous hap­pen­ing on the wa­ter.

It hap­pened at the week­end, and since then, I’m told, there has been a spate of smaller in­ci­dents where ma­rine res­cue would have put to sea to sort peo­ple out.

We have a pro­fes­sional fish­ing in­dus­try of course and a huge pop­u­la­tion of recre­ational boat­ies and fish­er­men, who all need to know there is a proper ma­rine res­cue ser­vice based in Port Dou­glas.

Task­ing a res­cue out of the Cooktown or Cairns Coast Guards is not ac­cept­able. It can take hours for them to show up, even if the alert is acted on quickly.

The lock­out of our lo­cal QF10 tech­ni­cally leaves Dou­glas with­out its own res­cue ser­vice — some­thing which deeply fru­trates the lo­cal vol­un­teers who take their role very per­son­ally.

In a small com­mu­nity, these are per­sonal mat­ters. If they can­not ren­der as­sis­tance, they take it very per­son­ally – and this is how it is now. And that’s why they have vowed to con­tinue to op­er­ate.

Af­ter all, they still have ac­cess to their ves­sel.

This sit­u­a­tion re­gard­ing the par­ent or­gan­i­sa­tion, the Aus­tralian Vol­un­teer Coast Guard As­so­ci­a­tion, badly needs to be re­solved.

Un­for­tu­nately, with our busy water­ways, it will not be long be­fore some­one in des­per­ate peril needs the ma­rine res­cue. The sea is like that.

AROUND this time of year we’re re­minded of the pop­u­lar­ity of the Dain­tree. All you have to do is try to use the Dain­tree Ferry. A col­league went to make the cross­ing the other day and sim­ply gave up, due to the length of the queues.

Though the idea of bridge across the river is still a bridge too far for most lo­cals, a sec­ond ferry might gain trac­tion if it got the right sup­port.

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