Boatie ‘high and dry’

Home­less in the wake of TC Deb­bie

Whitsunday Times - - NEWS - Peter Carruthers Peter.Carruthers@ news­re­gional­me­dia.com.au

HE LOST more than his boat when Deb­bie crossed the Whit­sun­day coast in March.

Ge­off Hines also lost his home.

The 68-year-old Whit­sun­day lo­cal is now liv­ing out of his car and sleep­ing un­der an old tarp.

His 55 foot mo­tor cruiser, Yar­ran, was not in­sured and Mr Hines has no money to pay for the sal­vage of the ves­sel from the man­groves at the west­ern end of Shute Bay.

Mr Hines said there were two holes un­der the wa­ter line and three above.

Mar­itime Safety Queens­land has been in con­tact with Mr Hines and ex­pects him to de­liver a re­port out­lin­ing what he in­tends to do with the boat.

Mr Hines has also con­tacted a Queens­land Gov­ern­ment asses­sor, who sug­gested he hire a dou­ble ro­tor Chi­nook he­li­copter to re­move the ves­sel from the man­groves.

Chris Car­ring­ton, a qual­i­fied marine asses­sor con­tracted by the Queens­land Gov­ern­ment, said the idea of us­ing a Chi­nook was one which had been ef­fec­tively em­ployed in other sal­vage op­er­a­tions.

How­ever, he ad­mit­ted no Aus­tralian Chi­nook would be ca­pa­ble of lift­ing such a heavy ves­sel.

The marine sal­vage ex­pert ex­plained the best way to sal­vage the boat would be to dig a chan­nel through the mud and drag it back to the wa­ter.

Mr Hines was con­cerned about the re­ac­tion from en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists if man­groves were dam­aged.

Mr Car­ring­ton said thick man­groves and two salt wa­ter crocs spot­ted in the area were re­strict­ing ac­cess.

Mr Hines said he was aware of his re­spon­si­bil­ity as a boat owner but was sim­ply not able to hon­our it.

He said a tug to tow the boat out would cost $6000 a day. It’s money he does not have.

PHO­TOS: PETER CARRUTHERS / WASP NQ

BOAT LOSS: Ge­off Hines has lost his home af­ter Cy­clone Deb­bie beached his boat in Shute Bay.

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