November 2021

MESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

Hi everyone,

VMR Whitsunday is well and truly ahead of last year’s record rate of activations, and we now have 212 to our credit with two months still to go.

Medivacs have slowed noticeably with much lower occupancy rates at the resorts, but that is expected to increase as interstate lockdowns are wound back. Breakdowns have more than doubled this month, and the 96 medivacs completed to date is 2½ times the 2020 level. October activations detailed HERE.

Overall, the number of people that we have assisted is 641, up 67% on 2020. Our longest activation so fa this month was about 150 miles to assist a vessel broken down at Square Reef.

VHF and AIS installations all done and dusted

The upgrades to VHF and AIS installations are now complete. VMRW provides vital Marine Communications on VHF radio, as well as tracking capabilities via AIS to Marine Traffic – have a look at marinetraffic.com.

Our three AIS stations at Shute Harbour, and the newly upgraded sites at Mt Robison on Whitsunday Island and Hayman Island, give us AIS coverage ranging from 2000 sq. kms to over 3500 sq. kms, and even up to 6500 sq. kms depending upon atmospherics at the time.

There are now almost no AIS black spots in the Whitsundays, and we were able to track Coral Sea Marina VMR1 on a recent activation to and from Square Reef, 64 miles from Airlie in a straight line. Vessels that have had an AIS unit installed will allow rescue services to quickly locate an AIS equipped vessel in an emergency.

Progress of the Blue Water Review

The Blue Water Review toward the integration of marine rescue services in Queensland into one combined entity is progressing nicely, although probably still a couple of years away from fruition. We continue to endorse and support that integration..

QFES, which is leading the Blue Water integration programme, have kindly donated us a brand new 9kVA emergency generator and $5,000 towards the installation cost to provide emergency backup power to the VMR radio base and building essential services circuits. We are most grateful for the support and the close cooperation that is building between our organisations.

VVMR on the Disaster Management Group

VMRW has recently been appointed as an advisor to the Whitsunday Local Disaster Management Group, and we look forward to participating in the LDMG in future meetings. We recently participated in the Council’s public information event at the Lion’s Whitsunday Markets.

Marine Rescue Accreditation

We are in the final stages of completing our Marine Rescue Reaccreditation process, which is mandatory for all marine rescue operations in Queensland.

Practising with QAS for emergency situations

Coming up soon, VMRW will be participating in a simulated emergency exercise being coordinated by the Queensland Ambulance Service at Hamilton Island, providing valuable training for QAS paramedics and rescue crews.

You can join online – tell your friends

VMR Whitsunday membership is cheap insurance at just $80. You can  join 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
President,
Volunteer Marine Rescue Whitsunday