Boat sinks at Can­non­vale ramp

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Sharon Small­wood

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.

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