SES rescue at Shag Islet
WHITSUNDAY SES volunteers were called to a boat stranding at Cape Gloucester in the early hours of Monday, providing an opportunity for the rescue team to use their flood boat for the first time since its purchase.
A boat had become stranded on rocks near Shag Islet in the Gloucester passage and the emergency services on scene called for SES assistance just after midnight.
Mark Connors of the Whitsunday SES said the rescue flood boat, purchased through community fundraising, was the perfect vessel for the job.
“Since the tide was going out and the water level was quite low, the inflatable flood boat was perfect for the job,” he said.
The jet-powered flood boat is the only one of its kind in Queensland and was purchased through fundraising by the Airlie Beach Lions Club.
RACQ CQ Rescue was also on scene and helped find the fisherman who had been checking crab pots in a small boat before becoming stranded. During the mission, RACQ CQ rescue located the stranded boat and observed the man moving about on the rocks in no sign of distress. He was able to access higher ground on the large island.
The fisherman used a mobile phone to contact friends for assistance, who began to make their way out to the islet on a boat, but after their own vessel capsized they were forced to swim back to the beach and call the emergency services. Whitsunday water police were contacted and orchestrated the rescue.
The rescue mission took two hours to complete and the fisherman was uninjured.
RACQ CQ rescue CEO Martin Cleland encouraged all boat owners and skippers to use the correct safety equipment when they encountered problems at sea.
“It’s paramount boat owners have the correct safety equipment aboard, it’s well maintained and they know how to use it,” he said.
Mr Cleland also said that boaties having an EPIRB on board helped emergency services to pinpoint exact locations with greater accuracy, saving vital time and resources during a search and rescue operation.