Boat sinks at Cannonvale ramp
TWO men who attempted to launch a boat at Cannonvale’s Marine Club ramp on Monday morning, found themselves swimming after the vessel when it was swamped by waves and sunk.
Newlywed Martin Dines had lost his wedding ring while snorkelling off Blue Pearl Bay just the day before and enlisted the help of his scuba-diving friend Tony Herbert to return to Hayman Island for an underwater search.
“Looking for the ring was always going to be difficult but getting out there should have been the easy part,” Mr Dines said.
The Cannonvale ramp is notorious for its exposure to northerly winds and the light nor’easter blowing at the time sent waves crashing over the transom as Mr Dines attempted to launch.
Unfortunately he didn’t realise the boat was also missing its bungs and before he knew it, water was pouring in. The combination of incoming water and waves caused the boat to sink, just 10 metres from the ramp.
Mr Dines said the accident was caused by “a bit of human error, but without the northerly wind it probably wouldn’t have happened”.
Likewise, Mr Herbert said “it was just the straw that broke the camel’s back – but it was a really, really big straw”.
Local fisherman Bob Spees, who has for a long time been campaigning about the safety of the ramp, received a call about the incident and rushed to help.
By the time Mr Spees arrived a group of locals had already rallied and were helping to retrieve the boat.
Mr Spees said this was just one example of “some of the things that happen at that ramp”.
“If we had a floating pontoon and rock wall in place they could have just pulled the boat back in and this whole drama wouldn’t have hap- pened,” he said.
On this occasion no-one was hurt and Mr Dines and Mr Herbert thanked all those who came to their assistance.
As for the ring, Mr Dines and his wife Sarah Phillips-Dines took a helicopter to Hayman Island that afternoon and searched the bay but to no avail.
Mr Dines who owns the Airlie Beach Day and Night Chemist but is currently living in England, said Blue Pearl Bay was a great place to return to and search again for the ring, which the couple planned to do on their wedding anniversary.
A new ring has been ordered in the interim.
RESCUE: Locals rallied to the rescue when a boat flipped at the Whitsunday Marine Club ramp on Monday.