September 2018

ActivationsPresident’s Report for August 2018

After a few quiet months things have ramped up with a vengeance, with 26 activations so far this month compared to 12 for the same month last year.

One vessel was trying to sink off Pioneer Rocks
before the Police and Abell Point Marina VMR1 were able to take her alongside with all pumps going, and get an urgent after hours lift out at Hawke’s Boatyard, thanks to a quick response from Chris Carter at Hawke’s. Another vessel was beyond saving after striking Platypus Rock near Shaw
Island, and it has subsequently been written off – a sad end to a lovely 60 tonne Norman Wright motor yacht.

Things sure changed quickly with the improvements in conditions on the water. In the year since the new boat was put into service, it has been on the water 184 times compared to 149 the previous year for the old boat. It has done 27 medivacs totalling 75 hours, 10 searches totalling over 29 hours, as well as the usual tows for breakdowns and no fuel. Total crew hours in the last year are approaching 2,500, a great effort by all concerned.

At the recent Annual General Meeting the office holders and committee members from last year were all re-elected unopposed, and we all look forward to working with you over the next year as VMR Whitsunday gets stronger and better at what we do best – saving lives at sea. Service awards were presented to members that have given over 5 and 10 years’ service, and dedicated former president and current committee member Ray Lewis was nominated for Life Membership, which was acknowledged and endorsed by all present with a rousing and prolonged round of applause – well done Ray, and very well deserved.

Mal Priday
President, VMR Whitsunday

Incident Reports for MSQ

Do you know when your ‘little mishap’ out on the water needs to be reported to MSQ? Of course if you have minor mechanical issues, electrical problems or run out of fuel, this is not considered reportable…BUT if you are involved in a more serious incident such as those listed on the Incident Report Form (see below) then this does have to be reported.

Copies of the Incident Report Form will be kept on Abell Point Marina VMR1. If your ‘little mishap’ falls within the criteria specified you will be handed a form which you will need to complete and submit to MSQ within 48 hours.

Evaluating Samson Post

Thanks to those people (21) who answered the question posed in the last Samson Post… put a list of topics into the order of their importance to you. We know Activations is the favourite but apart from that, the top 5 came out at:

  1. President’s Report
  2. Boat Safety Articles & Advice
  3. Notices to Mariners
  4. News from AMSA
  5. Technical & other info about VMR1

While 21 individuals amounts to only 1.2% of the total number of people who are sent the Samson Post, these few people took the time to offer feedback so in future the make-up of topics will reflect their wishes. Thanks for your participation.

AGM & Service Awards

The 2018 AGM was held on 13th August, and this year we presented 7 Active members with 10 year service awards and 13 with 5 year awards. That’s a pretty awesome achievement! Congratulations to all!  Here are the recipients (in no particular order):

10 years membership
Ray Lewis, Mal Priday, Geoff Fitzsimmons, Fin Forbes, Will Kamsteeg, Tom Manning, David Cooper, Ronnie Roberts

5 years membership
Dewi Hughes, Gay Bowden, Rod Wilson, Paul Coggan, Bill Harrison, Ron McCall, John Caldwell, Geoff Smith, Celia Smith, Greg Walker, Tony McNeill, Ken Bryce, Janet Eldridge

A special award was also announced – Ray Lewis was made an Honorary Life Member for his lengthy and exemplary service to VMR Whitsunday. The Presentations were made by our Platinum sponsor, Abell Point Marina’s General Manager, Kate Purdie.

Alcohol & Drug Rules for Boats…Do you know what they are?

Drinking alcohol and being under the influence of drugs reduces your ability to boat safely because these substances can affect your judgement, vision, coordination and reflexes—increasing your risk of having a marine incident.

Sun, wind, noise, vibration, and constant motion are all considered “stressors” common to the boating environment. They intensify the effects of alcohol and drugs by causing fatigue, which greatly reduces a boat operator’s coordination, judgment, and reaction time. Balance and vision are also affected at an accelerated rate.  Do you know the Qld alcohol limits? Do you know how your marine license might be suspended…or even  disqualified?  If you aren’t 100% positive it might be a good idea to read up on this topic.

Recognition from the Commercial Sector

Over time we at VMR have grappled with how best to serve the Commercial sector because unlike private recreational boaties we are unable to provide a commercial member with a free tow.  This is because (in general) commercial vessels have a considerably higher use, they may be bigger and heavier with a crowd of passengers on board enjoying a day out, and they can be driven by a variety of skippers of varying skills (particularly in the Bareboat sector).  On the flip side, commercial operators usually take better mechanical care, with regular checks and maintenance programs and either operate or share their own chase boat services.

At VMR we provide a marine safety net from Cape Gloucester to Shaw and Thomas Island and out to the outer reef, and from time to time this becomes helpful when the specialist nature of our Marine Rescue business and rescue vessel is called on in an emergency situation.  As a not-for-profit organization we can only charge the total running cost of our rescue vessel, bearing in mind that we have no salary or wages, as we are operated totally by Volunteers.

VMR also owns and has replaced and upgraded the VHF radio repeater stations on Hayman and Whitsunday Islands.  Everyone is a beneficiary, especially the Commercial sector, and we thank the Whitsunday Bareboat and Charter boat sectors for their assistance with the repairs and upgrades, and responsibility for ongoing maintenance.  We have boosted the power output and added wind generation to cover inclement weather periods, and we are currently conducting a feasibility study on adding AIS receivers to both locations (again with the Bareboat and Charter boat sectors support).

This month we were pleased to be recognized by John Mol and Annie Judd at Charter Yachts Australia with a bronze sponsorship of $2,000.  CYA have been long term supporters of VMR and we appreciate their support again.  They operate a fleet of 20 Sailing Yachts, Sailing Catamarans and Power Catamarans from Abell Point Marina.

We were also were pleased to receive a ‘membership” application from Red Cat Adventures.  Chloe Autridge, Sales and Marketing Manager said “We like to hold a token membership in recognition of the safety net you provide to the Whitsunday marine industry”.

Red Cat operates vessels Tongarra and Thundercat , and Paradise Cove Resort at Woodwark Bay.  Thanks Red Cat!

Do you have a Domestic Commercial Vessel?

Not sure exactly what the definition is?  AMSA can help you find out if your vessel is a domestic commercial vessel and the safety rules you need to meet if in fact this does apply to you.

It’s also worth knowing that services are changing for owners, operators, and crew of domestic commercial vessels, and there are new draft domestic commercial vessel levy rules and fees. We like to keep you informed. 😃

Notice to Mariners

Three new notices to mariners have been added to the Queensland Transport Website for our region since the last Samson Post. These are:

  • Platypus Rock, Shaw Island—west cardinal buoy obscured
  • Port of Airlie marina, Muddy Bay—marina berthing arm construction
  • Surprise Rock—isolated danger buoy temporarily discontinued

You’ll find the details on the Qld Government Transport website

Thanks to our Sponsors

This month we were proud to reach the first anniversary of our three year Platinum sponsorship with Abell Point Marina, and Fish D’Vine and Rum Bar renewed their Silver Sponsorship for a fourth year.  – Grant Wilson, FD’s CEO commented  “we are delighted to continue our relationship with such a valuable organisation within our community”.

We are proud to acknowledge our sponsors.  Without their help, we would not have been able to acquire and operate Abell Point Marina VMR1, the most advanced Rescue vessel in VMR Queensland, equipped with specialist rescue equipment, such as touch screen electronics, Forward Looking Infrared camera, VHF radio direction finder and soon we will install Forward Looking Sonar.

Our thanks go to :

  • Platinum – Abell Point Marina
  • Gold – Rotary Club of Airlie Beach and Hawkes Boatyard
  • Silver – Fish D’Vine and Rum Bar, Whitsunday Lions Club and Helibiz
  • Bronze – Charter Yachts Australia, Wilmar Sugar and Zonta Club

Generous Donations…Thanks!

All the coins you donate while out and about certainly add up!  The collection tin from Subway yielded $111.85 and the one at Dingo beach yielded $103.45. Thanks to everyone who dropped in a coin.

Our thanks also for the ongoing monthly donations made by Julie Roberts at Bookkeeping Taxation Solutions, Adrian Studt and Jeff Knight. Much appreciated.

Caring for our boatees and their vessels

VMR Whitsundays has invested over $6,000 in the very best towing equipment so that vessels under tow do not (as far as possible) sustain damage while being towed behind Abell Point Marina VMR1.

We now have a new 12 metre x 32mm double braid nylon ‘Stretcher’ that will be placed between the ‘Amsteel-Blue’ line and the pendant on the tow-line of VMR1.  The stretcher has a 30% stretch which will greatly assist with shock mitigation, something which can occur at any time during a tow.

The stretcher was made by our talented Life Member Tom Manning – the photo shows Mal Priday admiring Tom’s super-professional rope work.

Bunnings Sausage Sizzles…A great success!

Our last Bunnings Sausage Sizzle helped us a lot with our fundraising with the best turnover to date!  Thanks to  Gay, Janet, Heather….and especially Kym who cooked his little heart out. 😲  One more event left this year – Saturday, September 29th – so mark this date on the calendar, and pop along to say hello, and grab a sausage or two. Can you lend a hand? Please get in touch with us!

Huge thanks to Bunnings Cannonvale for giving us the opportunity to conduct these fundraising events outside of their front door. Also a big mention must go to Master Butchers Whitsunday for donating sausages.  Very much appreciated!

Members Social Meeting

Get out your diary. Next month’s VMR Whitsundays Social Meeting will be on:
Monday 1st October at 6:15pm.

The evening kicks off with an informal social meet including drinks around the bar (or outside watching the sunset) and grilled sausages on the BBQ with salad ($3 ea)…followed by a short meeting to talk about ‘what’s going on’. You don’t need to book…just turn up!

That’s it for this edition! Click below for August’s activations.


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