October 2021


Hi everyone,

Volunteer Marine Rescue Whitsundays has eclipsed the record number of activations from last year and there are still three months to go!

In 2019 VMRW did 126 activations, up 15% on 2018. Last year was up another 30% to set a new record of 168 activations. So far this year VMRW has completed 182, an increase of 66% over the previous year.

Breakdowns are up by 13% compared to the same period last year, and the 84 medivacs completed to date is three times the 2020 level. Overall, the number of people that we have assisted is 538, up 67% on 2020. September activations HERE.

VMR upgrades its VHF and AIS installations

VMR Whitsunday is well known for its Marine Rescues, but in the background we also provide vital Marine Communications on VHF radio and tracking capabilities via AIS to marinetraffic.com.

Recently, in conjunction with Telstra, the badly corroded ex-SeaPhone tower was removed from our Mt Robison site on Whitsunday Island. We needed to move our adjacent installations and take down our aerials, so the contractor could prepare for the massive lift of the 22 metre high structure.

Under pressure from a closing weather window, this was no mean feat, given the small working space and 200 metre drops around Mt Robison. With help from Helibiz and Des Daveys’ Huey helicopter, the tower (which weighed almost a tonne) was lifted off in one piece and taken intact to Shute Harbour airport. Our own crew reinstated the VMR and QPWS equipment, installed industrial strength AIS communications as well as installing new aerials on our new 6 metre mast.

Thanks to Terry Kemp and Phil Pleydell for their persistence on this remarkable installation and to NAB Foundation Community Grant Program which provided a grant of $10,000 towards the costs of the project. This was truly a Community project by VMR to strengthen our Marine Safety Net in the amazing Whitsundays.

AIS Coverage from the site varies from 2500 sq. kms to over 3500 sq. kms, depending upon atmospherics at the time. The Hayman site will also get upgraded AIS equipment when the weather allows.

News from our recent AGM

At our recent AGM the previous committee was re-elected unopposed, with the exception of Tony McNeill and Roger Wodson who both stood down.

Roger was standing down after 7 years as Secretary. His strong contribution over the years has helped VMRW achieve its current strong position, and that effort was acknowledged when he was unanimously awarded Honorary Life Membership.

We also participated in the unveiling of a plaque in memory of the late John Harper, without whose commitment and persistence our Marine Club would not exist.

Visit by Minister for Fire and Emergency Services

Minister Mark Ryan and senior QFES officers met with VMRW for a very productive meeting on VMR1 and afterwards at our Base. We explained what we are hoping to achieve with the future expansion of our Marine Rescue Centre, providing a larger training room above the Marine Club, as well as additional facilities.

We were delighted when QFES offered a new 9kVA generator + $5,000 installation cost to provide emergency backup power to the VMR building essential services circuits.

Remember…you can join and renew online

VMR Whitsunday membership is cheap insurance at just $80 – membership renewals and new memberships can be done online. Your membership helps to keep us going in case you need us. We hope you don’t, but we are here 24/7/365 if you do!

Kind regards,
Mal Priday
Volunteer Marine Rescue Whitsunday