October 2018

ActivationsPresident’s Report for September 2018

After a very busy August (29 activations) we have slowed down to a more leisurely 10 during the month of September. VMR1 was out of the water for 2 weeks after a prop wrap of stainless rigging as we were attempting to recover a small catamaran for the police. Both props were sent to the manufacturer in Brisbane to be checked and tweaked, and VMR1 was soon back in the water.

While the boat was on the hardstand, Noosa Cat and Furuno had a technician checking the radios, wiring and AIS to see if we could remedy the niggling problems we have been encountering. While it is was of the water the new Forward Looking Sonar was also installed and that should be of great benefit in reef and shallow areas. Thanks again to Wilmar Sugar and Whitsunday Lions for their generous donations that allowed us to install this very useful capability.

During this time, VMR Mackay stepped up to the plate and loaned us their Rescue 6, an 8.5 metre outboard powered boat with foam filled pontoons, and we are very grateful for their generosity and support as VMR Midge Point was out of the water at the same time. Being much smaller than VMR1 it was not as capable or forgiving, but it did 3 activations including one to Black Reef, a 101 nm return trip. Rescue 6 has now gone back to Mackay.

Other activities include further discussions and follow up regarding AIS on Hayman and Mt Robinson, and that is coming together. Bareboat operators are very keen to see that progressed. A contractor has been appointed to help set up out virtual PABX, which will be of huge benefit to our phone and radio operators with the ability to divert calls to the correct person rather than them having to handle and respond to all calls.

Mal Priday
President, VMR Whitsunday

Membership Benefits Update

It is now over a year since our purpose-built rescue vessel Abell Point Marina VMR1 went into service and we have encountered almost all the conditions that were foreseen in its design. Yes, it is faster, bigger and better equipped and these capabilities have added further security to our Whitsunday marine safety net. Members have been benefitted by faster activations from our privileged berth at Abell Point Marina, and reduced our response time on Medical Evacuations.

VesselVMR1’s fuel economy has helped us to keep our costs down and despite rapidly escalating fuel prices, we have been able to maintain our current fuel surcharge to non-members.

VMR1’s increased power has enabled us to tow more boats on the plane, containing towing costs and reducing towing times. This does not mean that we can go any further. We have seen an increase in long distance tows recently and fortunately, favourable weather conditions have allowed us to recover members and non-members from precarious situations (read this month’s activation reports).

Some of these recoveries were beyond VMR Whitsunday boundaries and in more difficult conditions, or if we are on another activation, all VMR squadrons retain the right to refer you to the nearest VMR (usually Bowen or Midge Point). Their responsibility is to take you to the nearest safe haven – which could be a boat ramp in their territory – regardless where you launched your boat. Thus if you wish to travel long distances from Airlie Beach, you should launch your boat at the nearest boat ramp to where you are going.

Remember, being 30 miles offshore, you could get lucky to be rescued by a passing boat or rely on VMR1, if communications and sea conditions permit. Always travel with another boat if you are offshore, or risk being very alone in a very lonely sea. We are constantly amazed by the inappropriate bravado of some members of the boating public, particularly with little experience, poorly prepared vessels, old batteries and insufficient fuel, thereby putting their lives at risk. You can’t flag down a passing truckie, wait for RACQ or hitch a ride when you break down out there. Make sure you have a
VHF fitted, that it is working, and that you know how to use it. Mobile phones cannot be relied upon for coverage.

As commented above, our reaction and tow times have reduced with our new vessel and effective 1st January 2019, your free tow is limited to 4 hours, from the time we leave, to the time that we are back in our pen, refueled and ready to go on the next activation. By comparison to other Marine Rescue organisations this is still a generous allowance and appropriate to the Whitsundays.

VMR1 Out of the Water – Thanks to our Sponsors

In the President’s report he reported that we suffered a “prop wrap” when attending to a catamaran which had capsized. Abell Point Marina VMR1 is the only dedicated Rescue Vessel in the Whitsundays and with the recent high level of rescues and Medivacs we needed to get her out of the water and fixed quickly. Our Gold sponsor, Hawkes Boat Yard has been heavily loaded since Cyclone Debbie but immediately made space to lift us out of the water and arranged for our propellers to be sent to Brisbane for checking and resetting. Alan Robinson of All Marine Services set aside his busy schedule to
check the bearings and shafts.

We also took the opportunity to fine-tune the vessel during its first time out of the water, install Forward Looking Sonar, and to antifoul and apply propspeed. Chris Carter from Hawkes was most understanding and we can’t thank him enough for stepping up when we needed help. Please remember how he helped us when you need hardstand and lift services.

Thanks also to our Platinum sponsor Able Point Marina for supporting us for our loan vessel from VMR Mackay. It is never too much trouble for Abell Point Marina to respond quickly on occasions when we need help.

On the Forward Looking Sonar project, we are grateful to Whitsunday Lions and Wilmar Sugar for their generous donations which made this important addition possible.

Editor’s note: Abell Point Marina VMR1 is back in the water, fully fitted and fine-tuned and was required to immediately attend to activations. Thanks to everyone who helped with private tows in our absence. Again, our thanks to VMR Mackay for their generous loan of “Rescue 6”.

Reminder about Navigation Lights

Of course you’re aware that Nav lights must be shown on boats operating between sunset and sunrise, but did you know that you must also show them when there is restricted visibility eg fog or heavy rain? This includes personal watercraft such as jet-skis. But what about a boat on a mooring? And what if your boat is only a small one? There’s a basic guide below (click to enlarge) but you’ll find the answers to these questions (and lots more) right here.

 ‘War on Wrecks’ to Remove Abandoned Boats

A $20 million War on Wrecks fighting fund has been allocated to remove abandoned boats from Queensland waterways. MSQ reports “Rotting old boats and vessels abandoned by their owners are being removed.”  You are invited to ‘dob in a derelict’ or get involved in the solutions to the problem.  More information on the MSQ website.

In an allied project, abandoned marine vessels damaged by Tropical Cyclone Debbie will be removed from the Whitsundays over the next few months, thanks to Council’s successful application for funding to clean up the region’s waterways.  Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox said “Removing the last of the wreckage and debris caused by Cyclone Debbie will make our pristine natural environment really shine again.”  More information on the WRC website.

QBANK Everyday Hero Awards

We were recently thrilled to bits when one of our own (Mal Priday) was nominated as a finalist for the Everyday Hero Award for Achievement. This Award recognises a passionate individual who has delivered outstanding performance and high achievement in their workplace or community.

With a total of 180 nominees for only 6 Awards, it was quite an honour when Mal made the final small group of 3.  Unfortunately he didn’t win but a huge achievement nonetheless! Congratulations Mal! Well done!

Recognition of VMR from the Commercial Sector

Last month we thanked Charter Yachts Australia (Bronze sponsor) and Red Cat Adventures, and this month we are pleased to acknowledge contributions from Renegade Fishing Charters and Whitsunday Paradise Explorer.

Renegade Fishing Charters, led by Luke Griffiths offers fully equipped fishing charters from Airlie Beach on Renegade, a Steber 3800 Sports Fisher, well known for its excellent sea-keeping ability and smooth ride.  Or you can leave from Hamilton Island on Outlaw, a Kevlacat 3400 Magnum Flybridge, purpose built and equipped for hardcore offshore game, sport and reef fishing. Check out their website at www.renegadecharters.com.au

John Henderson is a well known local identity in the Whitsundays and he operates Whitsunday Paradise Explorer, a personalised private boat tour and charter
company that can providing unique, memorable experiences in the beautiful Whitsunday Islands without the crowds. With John’s 16 years experience, he can take you to places unknown to most operators. For something different, or as a water taxi. Contact them at http://www.whitsundayparadiseexplorer.com

News from AMSA – UI Exemptions

As from 1 September 2018, owners of human-powered and sailing vessels less than 7.5 metres can be exempt from having to get a unique identifier (UI) for each vessel. Instead you will now have two options:

  • Option 1—obtain a certificate of operation for the vessels and be exempt from all UI requirements
  • Option 2—continue to operate without a certificate of operation and exempt only from UI display requirements

More details on the AMSA website.

We Keep Referring to our FLIR Camera (FLIR means “Forward Looking Infrared”).

Abell Point Marina VMR1 is equipped with a Furuno FLIR which is a handy aid when searching at night, although it works in daylight too. It is integrated into our touch screen plotter. You may have seen reference to the FLIR picking up campers on a beach when conducting a night time search and rescue, and on one dark night during Airlie Beach Race Week we were able to avoid course markers when travelling to a stricken vessel.  Depending on sea conditions and the amount of light available, it can be set in various colour modes to best effect and is very handy on night activations in whale season. We can access images from the flybridge as well as in the cabin downstairs where we can avoid night blindness to the skipper, and dedicate a crew member to keep watch, below.  We generally use it in a manual mode, but it can be set to an automated 120 degree sweep ahead.

How does it work?  FLIR was developed originally for military purposes and the camera has a special temperature sensitive infrared optic. The special optic measures temperature differences in the area. All elements, engines, steel and humans all emit energy as infrared radiation (heat radiation) which is electromagnetic radiation.

A heated body radiates energy in the form of infrared radiation. The sensitive optic is able to register differences in temperature down to 0.1 o C. The camera projects the differences in temperature to a grayscale or color picture – called a thermal image. It can be used to help skippers steer their vessels at night and in fog, or to detect warm objects against a cooler background. The pictures above and video below were taken at our July SAREX (Search And Rescue EXercise) and during a recent tests session for FLIR.

A ‘Man Overboard’ Story worth watching

Doug King works as a Pilot Boat Coxswain for Port Phillip Pilots in Victoria. One day during a routine pilot transfer Doug experienced his first man overboard event in almost 40 years on the water. Listen to Doug’s story about what happened that day….

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:

  • Port of Airlie Marina, Muddy Bay-marina berthing arm construction AUS charts affected: 252, 268
  • Shute Island, Shute Harbour-port lateral beacon re-established
  • Shute Harbour-Channel No.6 beacon re-established

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

Macrossan & Amiet….Huge Thanks!!

From left: Damian Carroll (Solicitor), William Kamsteeg (VMR) Andrew Telford (Director-Solicitor)

We are pleased to announce that we have received a cheque for $1500 from Macrossan & Amiet Charitable Foundation, and we are very grateful for their support.  The donation will be used to replace our Whisper Bay Radio Room flooring and update radio equipment.  In a Volunteer organization there are many hidden costs like these and we are very grateful for Macrossan and Amiet’s support.

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

Bunnings Sausage Sizzles…A great success!

Our Bunnings Sausage Sizzles have been a Sizzling Success! Our final one for the year was the most successful ever as we turned over a fabulous $700 in profit. We cooked up 35kg sausages, 11kg onions and used 20 loaves of bread  plus drinks. Massive thanks go to all helpers, particularly Alan Corney who coordinates every event and then stays the whole day to help out.

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 5th November 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! Come and socialise with your VMR volunteers.

Whitsunday Game Fish Club Light Tackle Tournament

Whitsunday Game Fish Club are VMR partners in the Whitsunday Marine Club and are holding their annual Light Tackle Tournament on 18th – 21st October. The briefing night will be held on Thursday (18th ) evening from 6pm at the Marine Club. All boats and new members are welcome. For further details contact Luke Griffiths on 0400 750 299 or email to luke@renegadecharters.com.au.

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


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