Record res­cues for VMR

Boom time for VMR vol­un­teers

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Dane Lilling­stone Dane.Lilling­stone@whit­sun­day­times.com.au

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.

PHOTO: DANE LILLING­STONE

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.

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