From the President’s Desk
In the aftermath of cyclone Debbie, it was thought that most buildings had suffered little damage but now the amount of internal water damage is becoming apparent, among local businesses, our own members’ properties and our Marine Club building.
Hence the members of the management committee have been busy, not only taking care of their own properties, but dealing with insurance companies and getting quotes for the damage to VMRW assets and infrastructure. A few repairs have been completed but what with obtaining insurance approval and getting providers to complete the work, it is a slow process.
We have had seven activations for the month of May comprising of 5 tows, 1 medivac and 1 search.
VMRAQ State Trainer Tom Hudson facilitated a first aid course with over twenty members participating and while Tom was here, he also revalidated a number of our skippers.
At the recent northern zone meeting, the requirement of crew drills training was raised, so we have reviewed our training schedule.
It is a lawful requirement that all crew must complete drills training every three months, so we will be doing drills training every few weeks on a Thursday afternoon at 1630 hrs. To cater for crew members who cannot make these times due to work commitments, for example, a number of skippers have indicated they are willing to volunteer their time on weekends to do this crucial training.
The active crew member list has been revised, with some members who have not attended training sessions as required being downgraded or removed from the call out list.
This Sunday 4th June our Sunday music session will be on at the marine club and as always, any assistance to set up, help to run the bbq and to pack up would be much appreciated.
Regards, Ray Lewis
Some time ago, we sent out a plea for a Volunteer to assist with our membership duties and Monica Finlay has answered our prayers and joined as VMR Whitsunday Membership Officer. Monica has recently started training and will be your future contact, freeing up our overloaded Secretary for other priorities. Welcome Monica!
Please be patient while Monica learns the intricacies and demands of our membership system.
We are also very close to implementing a new computerised membership system to replace the old, inflexible and manually demanding model.
Our old membership system has restricted our membership year to a single renewal date, but with the new system on its way, all new memberships will be for a 12 month period with renewal from the anniversary of joining date.
However, it will not be in place for this year’s renewal cycle, so you will soon receive your renewal notice by email; please renew when you receive this reminder as you will not be sent an invoice via snail mail!
Don’t forget, if you do not renew by due date, you will not be entitled to a free tow and if not renewed within 2 months of expiry date, your membership will be archived. If you wish to rejoin later, you will incur a new membership joining fee.
Age restriction on joining VMR Whitsunday
VMR has traditionally limited our joining date to 18 years of age. Effective immediately, any person with a valid and current boat license will be eligible to join as an Ordinary member.
However, the 18 year old limit will still apply to Active Volunteer membership for our Rescue vessel or Radio Base duties.
Each year, the Management Committee reviews its costs and membership fees and last year we did not increase any charges or fees. Unfortunately, this year we need to make some small increases in fees.
The following fees apply:
Ordinary Member with one boat – $75.00
Pensioner Member with one boat – $40.00
Additional boats – $10.00 each
Active Members – $10.00
(An Active Member is a member who is a member of boat crews, radio operators and administration and fundraising volunteers)
New member joining fee – $20.00
Activation fees for non-members will increase to $325.00 per hour from July 1st 2017.
SEVERE TROPICAL CYCLONE DEBBIE UPDATE
Since last month’s Samson Post, there has been plenty happening.
Officers from Marine Rescue Queensland (VMR headquarters) visited to inspect damage to VMR facilities in Bowen, Midge Point, Mackay and Whitsundays. Fortunately VMR insurance will cover us for most of the damage in the Whitsundays, but there will be shortfalls due to policy excesses.
The VMR Radio Base and Training rooms at Cannonvale are operational and the Whitsunday Marine Club is fully functional – you can contact the Club’s Manager Gail Winter on 0400 465 252 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any enquiries. The surroundings were not damaged and there is plenty of free parking, so why not plan your next function at the Marine Club and kick back by the Coral Sea.
While the VMR Radio Base and training room is functional, we are waiting on further insurance repairs to commence soon. Especially important will be the replacement of some of the aerials on the radio tower.
Unfortunately, our access stairs and deck to the VMR Radio Base have been well worn by many years of work and many cyclones and were excluded from our insurance cover. Cyclone Debbie pounded the structure for 40 hours and being adjacent to the sea did not help. We have patched them up once again and they are safe, but need to be totally replaced. We have crossed our fingers and applied to a number of organisations who provide grants to hopefully receive urgently needed funding.
Our Rescue Boat, VMR1, was quickly made operational with temporary repairs to small holes in the hull, a complete replacement of radio aerials (thanks to Kenny Nicoll from AB Marine Electronics & Electrical), new bimini and spray guard for the fly bridge. Other less urgent items will be attended to soon. Unfortunately there is a large insurance excess on the vessel.
The four VMR Boating safety signs installed a few months ago at Port of Airlie, Abell Point and Whisper Bay were all snapped off and damaged, while the Shute Harbour sign has disappeared completely. We are currently in the process of repairing the signs and they will be replaced as soon as more critical matters are completed.
Our VHF radio repeater stations on Hayman Island and Whitsunday Islands were smashed. Channels 81 and 82 are critical to communication and safe boating in the Whitsundays and thanks to the Whitsunday Bare Boat Operators Association and Whitsunday Charter Boat Industry Association, temporary repairs have been made but both repeater sites require rebuilding. Fortunately we had some of the cost covered by insurance and we applied and received a grant from the National Disaster Reconstruction organization to cover channel 82 on Hayman island. We intend to rebuild both repeater stations in partnership with WBBOA and WCBIA for our rescue operations and their daily communication requirements. In the meantime channels 81 and 82 are operational.
Access is difficult, if not impossible, with mangled forests around both sites and a major cost is helicopter hire to gain access to clear adjacent areas, transport materials, install the new repeater stations and remove the wreckage.
It is the joint view of VMR Whitsunday, WBBOA and WCBIA that VHF repeater stations on islands should be owned and maintained by Government as they are critical to Safety Of Life At Sea and the tourism industry along the Queensland coast – which pumps in a multi-million dollar support to our economy. We have commenced moves in this direction, seeking out the appropriate departments and people.
VMR Whitsunday is the only deep water safety and rescue organization in the Whitsundays. We need your support to cover our immediate restoration projects and ongoing costs. If you can help, please donate online by credit card at http://vmrwhitsundays.com.au/donate/ , pay by cash or cheque at ANZ Bank Cannonvale or Proserpine, or mail a cheque to VMR, PO Box 298, Cannonvale, 4802.
LiveLife, who have pharmacies located next to McDonalds, in Heart Hotel in Airlie Beach Main Street and at Whitsunday Plaza (formerly Centro), have a nation-wide Community Support Program. Each month, selected local non-profit organisations are featured in their stores and their customers are invited to choose their nomination to receive that month’s Community Support award. We were proud to be selected by their customers in the Whitsundays.
We are delighted that VMR Whitsunday was chosen to receive a $500 donation for the month of April!! This comes at a time when our uninsured Cyclone damage costs are higher than first thought. Thank you LiveLife for this very timely donation.
LiveLife has supported the Whitsundays Community in its time of need – please support them.
INTERNATIONAL ROTARIANS VISIT VMR WHITSUNDAY
In May, a Rotary Group Study Exchange Team visited the Whitsundays from the Minnesota/Wisconsin area in the USA. The team consisted of a Rotarian team leader and 4 young business/professional people aged 25 – 40 (non-Rotarians). They visited various locations across our whole Rotary district – Timor Leste, Darwin, Cairns, Tablelands, Townsville as well as here, in the Whitsundays.
The study tour team concentrated on all aspects of our way of life – government, education, industry, economy etc.
VMR President, Ray Lewis and Secretary, Roger Wodson met with the team and discussed our Volunteer Rescue operations and financial limitations. We were proud to be selected and given the opportunity to thank Rotary for their generous $100,000 contribution last year toward our new rescue vessel.
President Ray said “Without Rotary Whitsunday’s help we would not have been able to replace our ageing Kevlacat. Thank you, Rotary, please support them for the wonderful work they do for the community in the Whitsundays”.
VMR MUSIC SUNDAY
VMR Music Sunday is on again tomorrow, 4th June, from 2.00pm to 6.00pm.
No doubt there will be great line up of fantastic bands again, so come along, have a few drinks, enjoy the BBQ and the wonderful views over Whisper Bay.
No Parking problems and free entry at VMR MUSIC SUNDAYS
Like the Facebook page VMR Music Sundays
are held on the first Monday of each month.
The next meeting will be next Monday, June 5.
Starting at 6.15pm for a BBQ and drinks from the bar, the monthly meeting is held at about 7pm, giving members the opportunity to meet other members and committee members, and a chance to discuss matters of interest.
The BBQ is only $3, and drinks are reasonably priced, so come along and have your say.
Those of us who live beyond Cannonvale towards Shute Harbour see this mast every time we go through the “valley” between the two hills.
But what is the meaning of the colourful flags?
Sorry, no prizes for a correct guess (our budget can’t afford it!)
Notices to mariners
Nine new notices to mariners have been added to the Qld Transport Website for our region since the last Samson Post.
They all seem to be related to the aftermath of STC Debbie, and are too many to summarise here, so please go to the Qld Govt Transport website
Link to latest Activations reports