November 2018

ActivationsPresident’s Report for October 2018

And the busy upward trend continues! For October last year we did 5 activations including 3 for training. So far this month (up to 23rd) we have already done 17 including 3 for training, and for the period from January until today’s date last year (23/10) we had done a total of 60 plus 47 training – this year is already up to 90 – up 50%! – plus 47 training. The biggest increases have been with medivacs (and that will probably increase as resorts come back on line) as well as breakdowns and searches.

Abell Point Marina VMR1 is now back to good health and is performing better with the tweaked props, and that should get even better when new props with larger diameter and bigger pitch are fitted over the next month or so. The technician due to check the radios, wiring and AIS was delayed due to a death in the family, and we are chasing Noosacat to get all rectified as soon as possible.

The new Forward Looking Sonar has been installed and works well at the low speeds we run at in shallow operation. The planned AIS installations on Hayman and Mt Robinson are coming together, and we are waiting for confirmation from Hayman that we can use their internet before equipment is ordered. Bareboat operators are very keen to see that progressed.

A contractor has been appointed to help set up our virtual PABX, which will be of huge benefit to our phone and radio operators with the ability to divert calls to the correct person rather than them having to handle and respond to all calls.

Fuel usage and costs have increased due to a combination of increased activity and higher fuel prices – in 3 months we have used 2/3 of our entire 2017 fuel cost! One of the battery chargers on the boat has failed, and a replacement has been ordered.

I must stress how important it is for all active crew to keep updating MyEmergencyCrew. We have been very short on numbers with a few people doing a number of activations as there are no other crew logged on as available. This is essential for our phone holders and radio people to organise crews for activations, so please add your availability.

If you have friends or family coming up to do some boating during the upcoming holidays, don’t forget to tell them they need to join VMR…it’s a small investment for peace of mind.

Mal Priday
President, VMR Whitsunday


Welcome to Summer! Some Hints from VMR Whitsundays

The good news is that the summer holiday boating season is fast approaching!  Before you hit the water after what may have been a few months with your boat stored away, we would like to provide a few tips that may make your holiday boating safer and less stressful.

  • Make sure your boat is well maintained and ready. Have the engine serviced and checked. It never fails to amaze us that we see people launch their boat, have trouble starting it and still go out for the day. If it is hard to start first time, it may not start when you need to come home.
  • Make sure all of your safety equipment is on board and in good order. Wear lifejackets or PFDs….they can’t save you in a locker. If you are not sure what you need to carry, check the MSQ website.
  • Always carry spare fuel – there are no servos out there. Allow enough for your planned trip as well as a 25% reserve in case the weather changes and you are caught out.
  • Check the weather forecast before you go, and be aware that conditions can change quickly.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you are due back, and when to raise an alarm if you are overdue.
  • Don’t rely on mobile phone coverage if you need assistance – a VHF radio is a much better option and the boatie on VHF in the next bay may be able to assist. Know what channels are in use in the area where you will be.
  • Drink responsibly – and remember that the same alcohol limits apply on the water as for the road. Too much alcohol can put you and your passengers or family at risk.
  • Pay attention to your navigation. If you have a plotter, know how to use it. If you need assistance and give out your GPS position, make sure it is your boat position and not the cursor position – they can be miles apart! Wrong positions are very frustrating for rescue organisations, not to mention possibly dangerous for the vessel seeking assistance.

Rescue organisations save lives at sea, and will continue to do so. But responsible, safe boating starts with you, and sometimes we feel we are saving people from themselves. Prepare properly, plan your day, and think safety at all times.

Lots more information on our website page Boating in the Whitsundays.


Rotary Presentation

On 8th October, VMR was represented by Ray and Marlene at the Rotary presentation, where local organisations became nominated beneficiaries by advertisers in the “My Whitsunday” phone book. Hawkes Boatyard  had nominated VMRW as their beneficiary and we were presented with a cheque for $450. Our sincere thanks! 😃


Here’s a photo of Ray…Marlene was taking the photo. 😋


Watch your Wash!

Always be aware of the impact your wash can have on other boats, people in the water and the shore. Travelling at the speed shown on a speed limit sign does not guarantee you are not creating excessive wash. While the general speed limit for an area might be 40 knots, you must always remember that other speed limits can also apply:

  • For personal watercraft: 6 knots within 60 metres of people in the water, the shoreline, anchored or moored boats and boat ramps, jetties and pontoons. More details here.
  • For boats: 6 knots within 30 metres of people in the water, anchored or moored boats and boat ramps, jetties and pontoons. More details here.

Cyclone Season Berthing Special from Abell Point Marina

Abell Point MarinaAs we move into our summer season, Whitsunday boat owners should be considering their cyclone berthing plans. VMR Gold sponsors, Abell Point Marina, have some great berthing specials available to VMR members this season:

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.

Both specials provide access to their full range of concierge services and first-class facilities.  In preparation for the summer season, Abell Point Marina recommend all boat owners familiarise themselves with their Tropical Cyclone Vessel Preparedness Plan (PDF).

For any questions, please contact the team at Abell Point Marina on 4946 2400.


All about using our public moorings 

Throughout the Whitsundays, there are public moorings at a number of sites to help protect fragile reefs. The public moorings are blue-coloured buoys with a colour-coded band that signifies the ‘class’ of the mooring (see photo below).

As skipper, you must ensure that you use the mooring suitable for your vessel and the weather conditions. This information is clearly displayed on the coloured band of the buoy and on the plastic tag attached to the pick-up line. It is important that the public moorings are not misused and there are rules in place. More info plus maps here.


Feedback from a past ‘Customer’

It’s lovely when we hear from people after being able to assist with what is often a scary time for them. Recently we received a note from Tracey regarding the Medivac we did on 4th September (link below)…and we’d like to share it with our members.

On Tuesday 4 September my husband collapsed whilst we were at Butterfly Bay aboard our boat Trim. Within two hours the VMR had arrived with two paramedics on board to provide medical assistance. I was very grateful to see them! I cannot remember the skipper or crew who attended but would like to send them my thanks for their support on the night. My husband spent three nights in hospital where it was discovered that a new medication had caused a severe drop in his blood pressure resulting in him collapsing. Needless to say he is no longer on that medication!  In appreciation my husband and I have made a donation to the VMR. Once again I would like to thank all those who volunteer for the valuable service that they provide.”

If you would like to remind yourself of that activation, it’s at the top of last month’s list.


What is the VMR Review All About?

A government review into Queensland’s volunteer marine rescue services has begun this month, with the first stage to identify key policies impacting service delivery and volunteer based maritime search and rescue capability.  There are 21 Coastguard and 26 VMR locations across Queensland, and the review will involve regional stakeholder visits to help Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) better understand what is happening at a local, tactical level.

The following video explains:


Ever Heard the Term ‘Ghost Fishing’?

Abandoned, lost or discarded equipment—fishing nets, ropes, lines and tackle—go on ‘ghost fishing’ for many years.  They damage the marine environment, impact fish stocks and are a serious hazard to boats. Many threatened and endangered marine species are impacted by entanglement and ingestion of fishing gear. You can help prevent ghost nets in the marine environment by:

  • Storing waste fishing gear such as cut-off lengths of rope or line, damaged floats or lures and used cyalumes (glow sticks) in closed containers.
  • Checking lines and nets regularly for damage.
  • Trying to retrieve snagged gear where possible.
  • Stowing your gear securely when it’s not in use.

If you ever spot this type of marine pollution, here’s how to report it.


Has your EPIRB’s Battery Expired?

Planning on spending a day on the water? Remember to check your beacon’s battery expiry date. An expired beacon may not work properly in an emergency. Don’t put your life in the hands of an expired beacon, upgrade or service before your next trip. Also, remember that every beacon has a self-test switch.

More details on the AMSA website.


Notice of Coral Reef Fishing ‘Off Limits’ Period

Coral Reef fin fish will be off limits from Monday, 5th November 2018. This will be the second of two annual closures designed to protect these fish during spawning season. Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol District Manager Tony Loader said the closure would start immediately after midnight at the beginning of 5th November, and end immediately before midnight at the end of 9th November.

This applies to commercial and recreational fishers and Queensland Boating and Fisheries will be conducting regular patrols. For more information go to the Qld Fisheries website.


Notice to Mariners

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

  • Whitehaven Beach, Whitsunday Island—helicopter lift operations
  • Mandalay Mooring Grid—temporary special mark buoy
  • Gloucester Islands National Park—prescribed burning

You’ll find the details on the Qld Government Transport website


Celebrate the Festival of Music at the VMR building!

For the first time in festival history the VMR building will be an official venue…check out the line up below and pencil one or more into your schedule. This venue might not be in the centre of town, but it’ll be well worth a stroll along the boardwalk. Absolute oceanfront venue and the cheapest bar prices in town. 🍷🍺🥂


Members Social Meeting

Get out your diary. November’s VMR Social Meeting will be on:
Monday 5th November at 6:15pm.

The evening kicks off with an informal social meet including drinks around the bar (or outside watching the sunset) and grilled sausages on the BBQ with salad ($3 ea)… followed by a short meeting to talk about ‘what’s going on’. You don’t need to book or let anyone know you’re coming…just turn up! Come and socialise with your VMR volunteers and do something different than you usually do on a Monday evening.  😋


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

Activations