Don’t leave it too late: check boats be­fore you set sail

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS -

BE PRE­PARED – that’s the mes­sage from VMR Whit­sun­day af­ter a wild month with a record num­ber of res­cues.

VMR Whit­sun­day sec­re­tary Roger Wod­son said most of the re­cent res­cues had been due to a lack of care or prepa­ra­tion.

“Most (res­cues)... could have been avoided,” he said.

“When the per­fect weather started (co­in­cid­ing with school hol­i­days) the boat ramps were over­flow­ing, as boat­ies rushed out in idyl­lic con­di­tions. Some didn’t check their fuel tanks or bat­ter­ies and too many were not pre­pared to set off for an ex­tended dis­tance.”

Mr Wod­son said boats trav­el­ling fur­ther than VMR’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties had the po­ten­tial for dis­as­ter.

“Our long­est tow was 9.5 hours from Black Reef, when we used over 1000 litres of fuel. By the time we reached Air­lie, VMR1 was run­ning on fumes,” he said. “This sets off alarm bells at VMR as our sea hard­ened skip­pers are con­cerned that many boats are trav­el­ling be­yond VMR’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

“Re­cent weather con­di­tions have been ideal for tow­ing but in com­mon con­di­tions of higher winds or larger tides we would not have reached three of the res­cues per­formed.”

VMR Whit­sun­day is a vol­un­teer char­ity and do­na­tions are tax deductible. Do­na­tions: vm­r­whit­sun­days Join VMR for $70 a year and get a free tow an­nu­ally.

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