December 2018

ActivationsPresident’s Report for November 2018

The final number for activations in October was 21 compared to 8 the prior year, an increase of 162%. November is tracking at 8 to date plus 3 training compared to the same number last year, plus 7 training. Year to date 2018 is 102 plus 61 training, 2017 for the same period was 70 plus 54 training, so non-training activations are up by 31, up 44%. The upward trend is expected to continue.

New props for Abell Point Marina VMR1 are on the way and should be installed after some further checks by Cummins, as maximum revs have dropped slightly since initial sea trials after the cupped props were installed. More has been done with the radio interference issue, and that has improved markedly after some of the original cabling was replaced by shielded cables.  We are talking with Furuno to make further tweaks. The faulty battery charger on the boat has been replaced.

The AIS installations on Hayman and Mt Robinson are still on the agenda, and we have now had confirmation from Intercontinental Hotel Group on Hayman that we can use their internet which is great news. The contractor that has been appointed to set up our virtual PABX has completed the work, and we are following up with that as well.

We have been advised that GST does not apply to VMR operating fees under AMSA exemption 24.  Effective immediately, our fees have been reduced by the GST amount, to $323 per hour for non-members.  The charge still includes a $27 fuel levy whilst diesel prices continue at their high level.

As this is my final report for the year may I congratulate each and every one of our volunteers for their effort and commitment during what has been a very busy year.  Without that commitment we would not be able to fulfill our prime duty – saving lives at sea.

Mal Priday
President, VMR Whitsunday


Shark Attack Prevention Guidelines

‘Do not swim’ warning signs and marine marker buoys are now in place at Cid Harbour following the recent shark attacks. Please follow the swimmer safety guidelines.

  • Do not swim after dusk, at night or before dawn when sharks are most active
  • Do not swim in murky waters
  • Do not swim in or near mouths of estuaries, artificial canals and lakes
  • Never swim alone
  • Never swim when bleeding
  • Do not swim near schools of fish or where fish are being cleaned
  • Do not swim near or interfere with shark control equipment
  • Do not swim with animals.

High Fives for Hawkes Boat Yard ✋

Recently Abell Point VMR1 had to be taken out of the water at short notice to rectify some issues after a stainless wire got caught around the starboard propeller. At extremely short notice, Chris Carter and the team at Hawkes Boatyard were able to lift VMR1 and keep it in their yard while the props were sent away for testing, despite already having a full boatyard.

They then antifouled VMR1 and after the props were refitted, applied propspeed and fitted new anodes before returning her to the water. Their prompt and professional assistance was first class in every respect, and the capable and much appreciated support given by companies such as Hawkes Boatyard is a key component of our ability to continue to provide vital services to the Whitsundays boating community. Without their support, we would have been up the creek without a paddle! Thank you, Chris and the rest of the team, not just for this occasion, but for your help and support over the years.


Prove you know your stuff 😉

We are sure you know the rules of the sea, but it might be time for a refresh. How many of these scenarios did you get right?


This is how we get to be a ‘well-oiled’ team

Drills Training. It sounds as exciting as watching paint dry but it is incredibly important. Crew need to understand and be comfortable with the equipment on Abell Point Marina VMR1. A group were out recently honing their skills in the ‘Man Overboard’ drill.

Just so you know, we don’t throw a crew member overboard just to practice saving him/her. 😁 😂 🤣We use a bucket tied to a fender as this ensures that it has a different drift pattern to the boat. The practice is good training for both crew members as well as the skipper.

The bucket/fender is thrown overboard in a random and unexpected manner and the first person who notices needs to adopt the standard MOB practice of pointing and following with their eyes. They yell “MAN OVERBOARD” and the skipper must immediately stop. Often a yell can’t be heard over the noise of the engines however, and then it is up to other crew members to notify the skipper and prepare to retrieve the ‘person’ and get them back onto the boat.

All very exciting! this is practiced several times to ensure that everyone acts very quickly and knows exactly what to do. Another drill is how to throw a heaving line….an art unto itself, especially when standing on a moving boat in a cross breeze. 😀 It might seem like repetitive training which can quickly become dull, but on an activation, it is important that VMR present as a skilled, well-oiled team.

If you’re an active member, training is on every Thursday at 4:30pm (and some Saturday mornings) It is essential that you attend as much as you can to hone those skills! 😊


Dingo Beach is special, and not just for the views

Our friends at Dingo Beach have stepped up again. VMR’s from Bowen and Whitsundays provide a
rescue and towing service to the Dingo Beach area.  Locals have been supporters of VMR Whitsunday
for a long time and it is only two months since the Dingo Beach Hotel collected over $100 from patrons’ spare change in our tin on their counter.

This month they held their legendary Melbourne Cup lunch and donated the raffle proceeds of $180.00 to VMR Whitsunday. In addition, an anonymous donor stepped in and donated $50.00 and the local community added $61 from our collection tin on the bar and $87 from our tin in the General Store – that’s $378 towards our running costs. When diesel is costing $1.80 per litre in the marina, this is a huge help. 😍

Thanks to everyone who generously helped our cause in Dingo Beach. We were pleased to hear that test drilling for the proposed dual lane boat ramp has been completed and VMR skippers will be pleased to see the improvements – we can only reach the current ramp at high tide and sometimes we rely on the locals to come out to Abell Point Marina VMR1 in their tinnies to pull a mate back to shore.

Thanks to everyone at Dingo Beach, but special thanks go to Tony and Robyn Sellers, Michelle, Ben, Sue and the entire pub and shop crews for their support.


Better access to walking tracks and lookouts coming in 2019

Qld Parks & Wildlife Service has been working to improve access for vessels in Tongue Bay to the popular Tongue Bay walking track and Hill Inlet lookouts. Reliable vessel access across the reef flat at Tongue Bay has been a long standing issue. To address this, a designated 5 metre wide passage will be created to provide tender vessel access during, as low as, a 1 metre tide.

The work will commence during low tides in early 2019. In addition, buoys will mark the passage to guide vessels across the reef flat. When complete, there will be more time each day when vessels can safely access the area without damage to the surrounding reef from impacts such as propeller strike.


Two strong words for PWC safety

If we said we had just two words of advice for personal watercraft riders, and that the second of those words was “off”, what do you think the first would be?” 😉

Can you guess?  Nah….you’re wrong. 😁 This is the opening sentence of a great article, written specifically for those who own/borrow/hire Personal Water Craft.  Read the rest of the article HERE.


A trip down memory lane

The Trade-a-Boat magazine often requests an article from a ‘Guest Commenter’. Recently, there was an article about a simple fishing trip…40 years ago! It might bring back some fond memories. 😊

If you subscribe to the magazine, watch out for an article in the December edition…because VMR Whitsundays was asked to be a Guest Commenter! Quite an honour!


Reduce your impact on our precious marine environment

Oil on vessels—such as fuel and lubricants—can contaminate other wastes like bilge water and rags used for cleaning. While oil spills from accidents involving very large ships often gain public attention, a lot of oil enters the marine environment from small leaks, poor maintenance or deliberate dumping.

You can help minimise the possibility of oil leaks by:

  • Disposing of used oil, oily rags and filters appropriately.
  • Taking care when refuelling and where possible refuelling on land rather than over water.
  • Keeping a small kit of absorbent material on board to clean up any waste oil in the bilge or accidental spills.
  • Cleaning and servicing your vessel’s engine regularly and repairing oil and fuel leaks promptly.

If you witness a vessel or a boatie polluting, or see pollution in the marine environment, you can make a general marine pollution report…more info HERE.


Reminder about Cyclone Season Berthing Special

As the summer season approaches Whitsunday boat owners should be considering their cyclone berthing plans, and Abell Point Marina have offered a substantial discount for VMR members.

Summer Berthing Special – valid until 31/3/19
* Save up to 20% when you book 4 months berthing
* Save up to 30% when you book 8 months berthing

10 Night Locals Loyalty Special * 10 nights berthing to be used before 31 April 2019.  Pre-purchase 10 nights berthing at a discounted rate and use the berthing nights at your convenience throughout the summer season.

Contact the team at Abell Point Marina on 4946 2400.


Many helping hands keep VMR going

One of the many things that have to be done to keep Abell Point Marina VMR1 up to survey standards is regular checking of the on board fire extinguishers. VMR Whitsunday has been fortunate in having the capable services of Nigel at Cannonvale Fire Services to do this for us, and that assistance extends back a number of years on our former vessel as well.

Safety is our highest priority, and in the unlikely event of an incident on our own boat or another vessel we need to know that all of our equipment is going to work first time, every time. Thanks for your support, Nigel, it is much appreciated.

It isn’t just direct support with our boat though….so many people have helped.  The collection tins assist with our ongoing costs so a special shout-out to everybody who drops a coin in a tin occasionally. We have received $136.35 from the ‘bottom’ Night Owl collection tin and $215.00 from the ‘top’ Night Owl.  Thanks so much everyone! Those coins really add up. 💰💰💰

We would also like to thank Wayne Seal for his generous donation of $200. Also the ongoing monthly donations made by Julie Roberts at Bookkeeping Taxation Solutions, Adrian Studt and Jeff Knight. you’re all champs!

Sometimes assistance comes in all sorts of guises. Cathy Davis from Airlie Apartments has been altering boat crew work shirts to make them short-sleeved.  All help from the community is always appreciated, so thanks Cathy.  Boat crew are not noted for their sewing skills. 🙂


Notice to Mariners

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

  • Cid Harbour, Whitsunday Island—marine wildlife hazard
  • Cid Harbour—no swimming zone marker buoys

You’ll find the details at  Qld Government Publications


Photo of the month

Our volunteers take some fabulous photos in between rescuing people, so I thought I’d occasionally feature a special one. This was taken by Skipper Fin Forbes.


Members Social Meeting

November’s VMR Social Meeting went off with a real bang, as there were lots of visitors which is always fabulous.  It’s great that many of you drop in to chat and get to know your VMR active members.

There won’t be a January meeting but put Monday, 4th February 6:15pm in your diary.  Come along to enjoy a sausage sizzle, cheap drinks from the bar and to socialise with your VMR volunteers. Doesn’t that sound more fun than your average Monday evening?  😋


Going Fishing….what could possibly go wrong?

If you got this far, you deserve a laugh.  This video shows examples of when ‘we’ve got a bite’ can go pretty wrong. (after the short ad). 🤣

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

Activations