September 2020




Hi everyone,


August has already seen 20 activations (at time of writing this report) compared to 8 for the whole month last year. This is following on from the 21 completed in July, twice as many as for the preceding July.  For the year to date we now sit on 91 compared to 77 in 2019.

The overall increase is surprising considering restrictions on boating earlier in the year, and could be attributed to a couple of things – people making up for lost time, people just wanting to get out and do something, or the restriction on overseas travel means more people are checking out their own backyard first.

If you are going out on the water, make sure your boat is properly maintained and that you have the appropriate safety equipment on board and know how to use it.

We urge people to please comply with all social distancing and isolation guidelines, not only for your own sake, but for the safety of your family and friends and everybody else in this great community we all live in.

Whale Song VMR2 has been well and truly earning its keep and proving its value, and has completed 26 of the 91 activations this year, taking pressure off Coral Sea Marina VMR1 as well as effectively reducing its workload and extending its life.


After a couple of outages the AIS units at Shute Harbour and on Whitsunday Island are both up and running, and the one on Hayman should be back up shortly.

The units cover an area of over 3,000 sq. kms.  AIS is a system that the you can fit on your boat that identifies your position and past track on the internet and to other AIS-equipped vessels, and can greatly assist if rescue services need to locate you in an emergency.

The number of boats fitted with AIS units is expanding rapidly, and it is a great addition to the safety equipment on your vessel. Have a look at the Marine Traffic website and you may be surprised at the number of recreational vessels already running AIS – it is mandatory on larger commercial vessels.


We made the difficult decision to cancel the major search and rescue exercise (SAREX) planned for September due to the uncertainty around Covid-19, and the extra workload that the pandemic has created for the Water Police and other Police.

The last thing we want to see is the virus spreading to Marine Rescue volunteers between Mackay and Townsville, but a SAREX will definitely be on the agenda when things settle down.


Our Platinum sponsors, Coral Sea Marina, are running a great special for cruising boaties.  Pre-pay 10 nights berthing at a discounted rate and use them at your leisure throughout the cruising season. T&Cs apply. See the website for more info. The marina is one of the best in Australia, so make the most of this opportunity.


Thank you to all members that have already renewed their membership – if you have not done so yet, it is important that you renew to remain financial and protected. Do it now, don’t forget!

• Membership is just $80 – that is cheap insurance compared to a tow back from…say… Whitehaven, which can be around $1500 for non-members. Then there is the outer reef which can be big $$$$!
• Membership renewals and new memberships can continue to be made online.


Our volunteers have been serving the Whitsundays under various organisation names for over 55 years, saving lives at sea. And we want you and us to be here for a long time more.

Mal Priday
Volunteer Marine Rescue Whitsunday

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