August 17

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RayFrom the President’s Desk

After three years of planning and construction our new rescue vessel has finally been delivered to the Whitsundays.

A crew comprising Mal Priday, Tom Manning, Geoff Smith and I travelled to Mooloolaba for trials and familiarisation before departing and we were lucky to have a window of beautiful weather for the three day journey, which comprised of overnight stops at Urangan and Yeppoon.

Mal has been busy completing the Safety Management System including the safety analysis of our operation and I have been preparing the Equipment Location and Vessel Orientation. All this had to be be completed before we could train and familiarise our skippers and crew as that is the protocol before the vessel can be used for activations.

Abell Point Marina has become our naming rights sponsor of our new vessel and Paul Darrouzet, the owner of APM, invited members of the Whitsunday community and committee members of VMRW to a naming rights function at Lure on Thursday evening, July 20.  Abell Point Marina has supported VMRW for many years and this arrangement will be of a great benefit to us.  More information below.


We have had nine activations in July including a Search and Rescue which was called off when VMR1 was on the way to the scene as fortunately the water police found the person before dark.  Other activations were 2 medivacs, 1 fire and 5 tows.


Lance has started on the monthly maintenance and three monthly first aid kit checks and I will assist him to complete the task.  We will also have to compile a new maintenance check list for the new vessel.

Music Sunday

Even though it will clash with other local events, ie, the Reef Festival, we will be holding the Sunday Music session as usual this Sunday, so please come along and enjoy a great afternoon.

Stepping Down

After three years of being President of VMRW, I have made the difficult decision to not stand for the position for the upcoming year.

My commitment to VMR is still strong, however, as I will continue to act as the Chief Training Officer, as well as helping out with maintenance, radio room duties, skipper, and as a committee member.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their support during my time as President of VMR Whitsunday.

Thank you.

Regards, Ray

Annual  General  Meeting

The Annual General Meeting date has been changed from August 7th to August 14th and voting members have been advised.  The AGM commences 7.30 pm, preceded by a barby at the VMR club rooms.  Only registered Volunteer Active Members and Life Members are entitled to vote, but financially current members are welcome to attend.

Note that there will be no monthly social and information evening next Monday, August 7th.

Nominations for Management  Committee and Marine Club positions have closed,  with the following unopposed positions to be confirmed on the night.   In accordance with the VMR Whitsunday Constitution, there will be no need for voting.

President – Mal Priday

Vice President – Stuart Applegate (incumbent)

Secretary – Roger Wodson (incumbent)

Treasurer – Alan Corney (incumbent)

Management Committee Members (3) – Ray Lewis (former President), Norbert Gross (incumbent), Trevor James

VMR representatives on Whitsunday Marine Club committee (3) – Bill Harrison (incumbent), Rod Wilson (incumbent), Norbert Gross

Other Matters – the usual acceptance of accounts, appointment of auditor and a minor change to the Constitution (age of membership).


Rotary Logo

In previous newsletters we have thanked Rotary Club of Airlie Beach for their amazingly dedicated  contribution of $100,000 contribution to our new rescue vessel.  In addition, Rotary, through their myWHITSUNDAY phone directory and website search platform, balance their books annually and return profits to the Volunteer Community.  They request their advertisers to nominate a not-for-profit organization to be the recipient of a donation, based on a proportion of advertising revenue paid.

HawkesBoatyardThis year we are grateful to be nominated  by Whitsunday Regional Council and Hawkes Boatyard to be their nominated recipient.  To those responsible, we are extremely grateful.  W e understand that in WRC’s case, the vote as to who may be the recipient, is decided by their employees.   We are humbly honoured.

WRC logo.jpg


  • 3 years ago, committee was formed
  • 2 years ago, order was placed
  • Finally a team of 4 skippers, the engine manufacturer and electronics supplier took the new purpose built rescue vessel (built specifically for the sometimes hazardous Whitsunday waters) through sea trials and took 3 days to drive it to Airlie Beach

VMR1 in berth.jpgThis is a NoosaCat 4400 FB PATROL, just under 12 metres long, 4.5 metres across the beam and a 1.2 metre draught.

The larger footprint will provide safer handling in the rough seas we encounter in the Whitsundays and a safer working environment for Volunteer crews. It has walk-around decks, safer for crew and more efficient access.

It as been specifically designed and purpose built as an offshore rescue vessel with a flybridge – a must for visibility near the reefs in the Whitsundays and for Search and Rescue operations.

Other features include:

  • Twin Cummins QSB 6.7 diesel engines delivering a combined 960 maximum horsepower. Engines and drive are configured for long distances and towing vessels. Cruise speed is over 25 knots and yet it uses less fuel per hour in operation than our current vessel. Larger fuel capacity provides a range of 300 nm’s, which is beyond our working area but plenty of safety margin for long tows.
  • With engines below deck, we have a spacious working area. Engine wells have automatic fire protection, although diesel is less flammable than petrol.
  • The larger working area is designed for Medivacs and stretcher handling. Vessel is fitted with its own Qld Ambulance Service Stryker stretcher, plus our own first aid equipment.
  • State-of-the-art Furuno electronics with touch screen technology, Forward Looking Infrared Radar (which can pick up a person in the water up to 900 metres) and VHF Radio Direction Finder.
  • The larger cabin is air conditioned, and has a toilet and shower (good for hypothermia recovery), a more spacious working area, and a kitchenette with microwave, fridge and coffee maker for long distance activations.
  • Also fitted is a Life Raft and a Life Cell, containing flares, EPIRB, V-sheet, etc


At a welcome function on Thurdays evening, July 20, owner of Abell Point Marina (and VMR W patron) Paul Darrouzet announced a 3 year platinum sponsorship which included Abell Point Marina naming rights for the vessel and provision of a privileged berth, which will provide faster response times, and a cash component to assist with operating costs.

It is one thing to commission and purchase an ambitious vessel with specialized rescue functionality and be debt free, but then there are the running costs.

Abell Point Marina’s Platinum sponsorship will place us in good stead towards setting aside a reserve dedicated to funding the next replacement vessel for the Whitsundays.

Whilst it is our view that Search and Rescue operations should be the responsibility of governments, sadly this is not the case. As before us, previous Management Committees made progressive savings toward the next Rescue vessel and it is our responsibility to do likewise.

VMR1 welcome.jpg

Mr Darrouzet recognized the unrewarded role of Volunteer crew members who dedicated their personal time for the safety of the boating community and named the vessel “Abell Point Marina VMR1”.  The event was also reported on by the Whitsunday Times.

On the following day, with a favourable tide, the new vessel was berthed at the “VMR” boat ramp at Whisper Bay and was open for inspection by VMR Active members and their families, sponsors and representatives of VMR squadrons from Mackay, Midge Point and Bowen.

vmr1 at whisper bay ramp.jpg

VMR new vessel committee members are currently finalizing onerous  legal documentation requirements and crews are being inducted in emergency drills, training and familiarisation sessions on the new vessel.

These are not straight-forward tasks and within the next month, the new vessel will be ready for activation and our trusty Kevlacat will be offered for sale.  Expressions of interest are to be directed by email to

Tom Manning

While a number people worked very hard to make this project happen, none more so than VMRW’s Elder Statesman, Tom Manning.

Tom and Paul.jpg

Tom with Abell Point Marina owner Paul Darrouzet

Tom is a deserved Life Member of VMRW, and was instrumental in the construction of this vessel, supervising the build including numerous trips to the factory to ensure things were being done the way we wanted.

As well as that, he personally raised over $135,000 in sponsorship money and goods for this vessel, despite admitting to being a computer novice and sometimes struggling to fill in the often onerous requirements for funding applications.

Tom Plaque.jpg

To acknowledge his immense efforts, a plaque has been fitted over the exit of the cabin on APM VMR1, a fitting tribute to remind everyone using the boat of his contribution.

Membership news

Most VMR Whitsunday memberships expired on 30th June.  Those who have not paid their renewal fee will have received a reminder notice.

Effective 1st August, our grace period has expired and expired members are no longer entitled to a free assistance or tow.

In a previous Samson Post, we advised that we are migrating to a new membership system.  If you have not renewed your membership by 31st August, it will not be possible to renew this year, as overdue membership records will not be transferred to the new system.  Thus if you intend to renew at a later date, you will need to reapply as a new member (and incur a $20 new member fee).

As part of this transition, you will receive a new membership card.  This card will show your anniversary (renewal) date and will be your perpetual card; a new card will not be issued each year.


VMR Music Sunday is on again this Sunday, 6th August, 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

Monthly Meetings

There will be no meeting on the first Monday of the month this month due to the AGM being held on the second Monday, August 14.

Notices to mariners

Five new notices to mariners have been added to the Qld Transport Website for our region since the last Samson Post.

Three are about marina opertaions in Port of Airlie and Hayman Island, one is about sea bed obstructions in Shute Harbour and one about a submerged vessel near Pioneer Point.

For more details, please go to the Qld Govt Transport website

Link to latest Activations reports

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