August 2019


President’s Report

Editor’s Note:

Unfortunately there is no President’s Report this month because our illustrious leader is gallivanting around Ireland at the moment.  Mal Priday will be back next month to provide an update (and probably berate your Editor for this ‘genuine’ holiday snap.) 😁 In lieu of a President’s Report, we have a…..

Secretary’s Report

Hi, Roger here. President Mal is tripping through the ‘old country’, so just a few quick updates from me.

July has been quiet on the water but this is understandable because 20 knots or more of wind have prevailed in the Passages and the boat ramps have been quiet.  The total number of activations however was the same as last year but we had an astounding 8 Medivacs from Hayman and Hamilton Islands and an injured solo sailor at Shaw Island during the month, compared to 3 last year.

The Blue Water Review Working Committee for VMR and Coastguard operations in Queensland is a substantial update to the long list of the wide-ranging aspects of combining the operations of such a diverse group. One piece of encouraging news is that the VMR service agreement with the Queensland Government has only been renewed for 6 months, leaving the way open for early changes.  See below for more comments.

After 3 helicopter trips by Helibiz to Hayman Island and Mt Robison, we are almost there with the installation of AIS.  Even with the Hayman installation working there has been a huge range improvement to traceability of AIS equipped vessels, including VMR1.

Many thanks to Des Davey at Helibiz for his support to this important community asset.

The second rescue vessel is getting closer, with the sub-committee led by Ronnie Roberts narrowing its selection and now investigating a specific vessel.  The cost will be higher than first envisaged, but we are an emergency rescue unit and for the safety of our Volunteers and Members it is absolutely important that we have the right equipment and reliability for the jobs we are tasked.  We are still seeking a sponsor for naming rights for this vessel.

Congratulations to Coral Sea Marina for their acquisition of Coral Sea Resort.  We will be changing the signage to Coral Sea Marina VMR1 soon.

Finally, this time of the year places a lot of pressure on Active Volunteers with reduced numbers when Whitsunday residents travel and sometimes we struggle to have an available Rescue Boat Crew (but we haven’t refused an activation this season).  Our loyal Active Volunteers are also stretched to the limit with Community events, particularly in the last week when we assisted with Cannonvale State School fete, acted as traffic marshalls at the Reef Festival and held a sausage sizzle at Bunnings – thanks Rachel (Ms Bunnings Airlie Beach).  A special thankyou to those who attended activations and community events during the month.

Roger Wodson

Info About Membership Renewals

Two years ago we introduced rolling membership periods of 12 months from date of joining, but for members who joined before then, the renewal date is still the traditional June 30th each year.  This means we have a mountain of $80 payments ($40 for Pensioners) which can be hard to record if the member doesn’t tell us who is paying.

Don’t forget to advise your MEMBERSHIP NUMBER!

We do get a large number of new members each year who are only enjoying our water playground for a short time, but join so they are covered in our Marine Safety Net.  Many do not require renewal so it is necessary for us to follow through with all overdue subscriptions. Please let us know if you no longer require a VMR Whitsunday membership and we will stop sending membership reminders.

If you have a 30 June renewal and have not paid, please do so quickly as we will completing our annual archiving of expired memberships soon – which means that you will need to rejoin as a new member at a later date.  We have held membership fees at the same rate as for the past two years $80 for Ordinary (standard) members and $40 for Pensioners.

MayDay! MayDay! We Need Your Help!

We are very short of Radio Operators.  We only open the radio base on weekends and even then we are struggling to provide a reliable roster.  If you know how to operate a VHF radio or are willing to learn, and can reliably go on a roster, please contact us at and we will provide full details.

We have 5 hour shifts on Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons. Surely spending a few hours a month looking out at this view isn’t too much of a chore?

Don’t Leave your Fishing Line Behind!

Do you know how long it takes for fishing line to decompose in the water? Vote for what you believe is the correct answer, and then click ‘view results’ to see what others have voted. We’ll let you know next month how many got it right!

Note the Changes Regarding Boat Registration


• You won’t be getting another registration label.
• You can take your registration label off your vessel after 1 October 2019.
• Your registration certificate will no longer be issued following renewal payment.


• A renewal notice will still be sent reminding you of your registration due date.
• A reminder notice will still be sent if you forget to pay by the due date.
• Check the registration status and expiry date of any vessel using the online Check Registration Status tool here.
• Download the QLD Rego Check app to check your registration status or expiry date and set a reminder in your calendar so that you receive notifications directly to your phone.
• Sign up for e-notices/e-reminders to get your renewals and reminders by email.
• Sign up to renew your rego by direct debit.
• Check a vessel’s registration status and expiry date by calling the Department of Transport and Main Roads on 13 23 80*.


Although you don’t need a label anymore, you still need to make sure your vessel is registered. The Department of Transport and Main Roads, Maritime Safety Queensland and our compliance partners continue to actively enforce vessel registration. If you are caught in an unregistered vessel, you may face a fine.

For more information about these changes, visit or call them on 13 23 80*.

Bio-Security Alert for the Whitsundays!

We have been advised that multiple populations of a highly invasive pest (Yellow Crazy Ants) have been identified at Shute Harbour. The Yellow Crazy Ant is listed as one of the world’s 100 most invasive species and could cause havoc here if it spreads, especially out to the islands.

Apparently the risk of spreading this pest is very high so the help of locals and visitors is requested.

Please inspect your property and belongings. Ensure no pests, including ants and their eggs are hiding on your vessel, your aircraft or in your luggage, food, equipment or supplies before heading to an island. Keep an eye out for the Yellow Crazy Ant and if you discover something you suspect to be the pest, record the location, take steps to minimise the disturbance to the nest and take identifiable photos…then contact Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service on 07 49 625 205 or Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23. Do not attempt to move or relocate the ant!

The Yellow Crazy Ant can be described as having a yellow long body and very long legs and antennae. Its name comes from its erratic walking style and frantic movements, especially when disturbed. Yellow Crazy Ants can decimate natural environments, affect the horticulture industry, and cause skin and eye irritations.

You’ll find more info on this PDF booklet.

Update on the Blue Water Review

The Blue Water Review Working Group has released a Communique (PDF) from the recent meeting in Gladstone. They have completed a substantial amount of work toward combining VMR with Coastguard, and everything is well on track. The Communique details 11 recommendations made by the Working Group as part of its vision plus an additional 2 which have already been endorsed in principle.

Please be aware that these are Working Group recommendations only. There has been no final decision by QFES on the recommendations and once QFES has considered the recommendations and a business case through its governance process, the Commissioner QFES will advise the Minister on a response to the recommendations. The final decision on recommendations will be made by the Queensland Cabinet.

The next Working Group meeting will be held in Cairns on the weekend 17-18 August.

Green Energy Powers the Locals

As their slogan says, Green Energy has looked after the locals again.

Green Energy installed the Whitsunday Marine Club (VMR) building solar power system. This has been very effective in reducing the WMC power bill for the cold room and air conditioning the function room, as well as the vital communications hub in the VMR Radio Room.

GET’s Chief Energy Officer, Kon Flaherty heard of the Marine Club roof upgrade, VMR’s proposed second rescue vessel and improved offshore communications and said “We recognize the great things that VMR does for the community” and pledged a $2,000 donation thereby being recognized as a Bronze Sponsor.

VMR President Mal Priday commented “Thanks Green Energy, your generosity gets us another step closer to buying our second rescue vessel”.

Please support our Whitsunday sponsors and donors as they help us to improve our marine safety net.

Locals Special for Trailer Boat Owners

Our sponsors Coral Sea Marina are running a special at the moment to encourage more locals to get out on the water and use the berthing facilities at the marina this winter, specifically trailer boats. Here are the details:

How to Prevent Dinghies Doin’ Donuts

A recent Facebook post shared from MSQ included a pop-quiz – what is this red gadget in the photo (at right) and why is it important?  We found it surprising that so many boaties don’t seem to know what it is. This little device can prevent a lot of pain and anguish such as you can see in this little video
One of our crew took this video during an activation back in 2016. The two man crew on this dinghy locked the throttle open, then both were thrown overboard when the boat hit a small wave.

Fortunately, no one was hurt and the dinghy stopped when it (eventually) ran out of fuel! If the person in charge of the throttle had one of these gadgets around his wrist, the engine would have turned off when they were thrown overboard.

VMR at the Cannonvale School Fete

Cannonvale State School recently held their annual fete, and we were there! We greatly enjoyed being part of the ‘market scene’ and chatting to everyone who wandered up to collect some of our free stickers and other VMR paraphernalia.

A sincere thank you to Alan Corney who is an amazing event organiser and just makes it all happen.  It was a fabulous day.

VMR at the Great Barrier Reef Parade

VMR were honoured to assist with the Great Barrier Reef Rotary Street Parade. It did mean having to be in two places at once (our Bunnings Sausage Sizzle was on at the same time) but we covered it thanks to our volunteers generously donating their time. What a fantastic event! Congrats to the organisers.🙂

The Annual General Meeting is almost upon us

Our AGM will be held at the VMR building (Whitsunday Marine Club) on Monday 12th August at 7.15pm, following presentation of service awards to our loyal Active Volunteers.  

The most time-consuming matter at most AGM’s is the election and appointment of a new Management Committee, but this year we have the luxury of an equal number of vacancies and nominations for all positions.  Under our Constitution all appointments are declared vacant annually and in our situation, the nominees are automatically appointed to the role or position nominated. It is very pleasing that 8 of the 9 members are existing Management Committee members, which provides us with continuity of knowledge in our operations and a running start to a very busy year ahead.

All VMR members may attend, but only Active Members or Honorary Life Members can participate or vote.

Good Afternoon, and Welcome Aboard!

This is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek take on how a standard aircraft safety briefing could be adapted for a recreational boating day out. Enjoy! 😂

Please Support one of our Whitsunday Community Friends – WSC

Whitsunday Sailing Club are raffling a bareboating holiday to support their junior sailing program. Tickets are only $50 with proceeds going to their junior sailors to assist with purchasing boats & attending events. Only 600 tickets available so get in quick!!

Tickets are on sale online at  and the raffle will be drawn on the last night of Airlie Beach Race Week.

Donations This Month 

VMR Active Crew have many skills, but baking cakes isn’t one of them. Nevertheless, we are proud to be the recipients of the proceeds of a recent cake sale. The talented bakers were staff at InterContinental Hayman Island resort, who held their “Celebrate Service Week” recently. A number of staff baked different treats which were sold off in the staff store…which raised $103!

The IHG team voted to donate the proceeds to VMR….thank you all so much!

We would specifically like to thank Lindsay McNeill for his donation of $200, and also acknowledge the ongoing (monthly) donations from Adrian Studt and Jeff Knight. Generous people who came past our Bunnings Sausage Sizzle also donated a total of $100. Seeing as some of our takings blew away, this was very much appreciated!

You can help too by donating through our website. Don’t forget that donations to VMR Whitsunday are tax deductible and almost entirely spent in the Whitsundays.

Bunnings Sausage Sizzles …thanks for the support!

We were outside of Bunnings again last Saturday, but unfortunately it wasn’t such a great day for a BBQ with rain and wind putting everybody off. The day started dreadfully when a strong gust of wind, strong enough to move the BBQ picked up some of the notes from the till and scattered them around the car park! You should have seen us all run!!!  We sold about 28Kg of sausages, 14 loaves of bread and 10Kg of onions. Thanks to all those who helped out.

It’ll be a short wait until our next one which is scheduled for Saturday, October 5th.

Notice to Mariners

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

  •  South Molle Island—prescribed burning
  • Hook Passage—south cardinal mark unlit

You’ll find the details for all of these at Whitsunday Notice to Mariners

Members Social Meeting on Monday?

Ummm….no.  Please note that due to the AGM being held this month, there will NOT be a social meeting on our usual ‘first Monday of the month’ date.  The next Members Social Meeting will be on Monday, 2nd September at 6:15pm. Lock that one in now. 😋

That’s it for this month’s Samson Post…unless you haven’t read the Activations yet in which case, click on the link or the image below to read about the action.


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