Record rescues for VMR
Boom time for VMR volunteers
SEPTEMBER may be a popular time for tourism in the Whitsundays but it’s also proven to be a recordbreaking period for the Volunteer Marine Rescue Whitsunday crew.
A total of 22 activations were recorded in the past two weeks, which VMR Whitsunday says is the usual equivalent of three months work.
The incidents that have required assistance include mechanical breakdowns, flat batteries, fuel outages, medical evacuations and even a grounding, a missing person and a near-sinking.
VMR Whitsunday spent more than 60 hours on the water, using 6000L of fuel with their longest rescue clocking up at 9.5 hours.
VMR Whitsunday volunteer Norbert Gross said it was a record breaking period.
“Generally we seem to have most issues with breakdowns. People’s boats are breaking down with a number of electrical problems and their engine might be working but they cant get it started because of a fault,” he said.
Mr Gross said people simply needed to be prepared and follow the rules.
“We rescue a few locals but generally seems to be people from out of town who’ve brought their boat up. It all comes down to being prepared,” he said.
One Mackay man found out the hard way when he experienced an electrical fault and a $2500 bill after an 8.5 hour rescue.
A Woodwark man who was lucky to be a VMR member when his boat experienced an electronics failure near Barb Reef a few weeks ago fared differently.
“We went out fishing for the day and the damn boat broke down. We radioed for help and were answered by Hay Point and they put us on to VMR Whitsunday. They were really professional and quick,” he said.
The five-hour tow would have cost $1500 but as a VMR member he was able to claim one free tow a year.
“I think everyone in the area should be a member just to support them. You never know when you’re going to need them. It was pretty scary but I was prepared,” he said.
SAVIOURS: VMR Whitsunday volunteer crew members Geoff Smith, Fin Forbes, Roger Wodson, David Burge, Ronnie Roberts, Mark Wright, Rod Wilson, Norbert Gross, Stu Applegate and Gay Bowden on VMR1.