May 16

FishDvineActivation Reports brought to you by Fish d’Vine
Major contributors to VMR Whitsundays

Activation 01/05/16

Skipper: Gary Nicol

Senior Crew: Roger Wodson

Crew: Wendy Davidson & Dewi Hughes

Task: Engine failure, Tow from Hook Passage

After a week of strong winds the Labour Day weekend saw conditions perfect for boating.  For one local family of five, the lure of a day on the waters of the Whitsundays ended in disappointment when engine failure forced a call for help from VMR.

Our phone holder Bill Harrison put a crew together at 1755 and by 1830, VMR1 Departed Abell Point.

The boat needing assistance was anchored just south of Hook Passage close to the beach, so I was pleased to note the high tide would be slack around half an hour before we expected to arrive on site.  Hook Passage can produce some very strong currents on an ebb tide.

As expected we needed to take care while coming alongside the family’s boat to set up the tow line as it was anchored so close to the beach in shallow water.  I had Dewi calling depths as the current drew us into its grasp.  With a quick briefing on how the tow will play out we passed over our hand held radio, set up Tom’s hook and by 1930 were underway back to Abell Point.  At 2100 we had Dave and his family tied up on the boat ramp finger jetty.

This was an uneventful activation thanks to the skills of the crew on the back deck.  I should also thank Geoff Smith for the work he does every Thursday afternoon tirelessly training our crews – his work is fundamental to our core business.

Time on job: 3¼ hours      Fuel Used: 240 litres


Activation 04/05/16

Skipper: Gary Nicol

Senior Crew: John Fearnley

Crew: John Caldwell & Wendy Davidson

Task: Engine Problems, Tow from Cobham Reef

Four Strathdickie lads had a great morning fishing on the Great Barrier Reef spoilt by engine problems on their return from Cobham Reef 45nm north of Airlie Beach.  Bill raised a crew at 1145 after the lads deemed it unsafe to attempt to continue the run home when their motor played up on the 5.7m cruiser and called VMR for help.

VMR1 departed Abell Point at 1230 to a reported position 40nm north of home.

Conditions on the water were exceptional, perfect to set up the trim and rpm to optimize fuel burn. Being my first long distance rescue I had the Johns spend the first hour doing fuel consumption calculations to ensure that there were some fumes left in the tank for the trip home.

One thing I have learnt while with VMR Whitsundays is that what sometimes seems like a simple activation can evolve into something completely different. For us this was not the case and we found the Strathdickie boys exactly where expected after 1 hour 45 minutes steaming.

A quick hook up and we were again underway by 1425 on water like a mill pond.  On the trip back Wendy and John had the opportunity to get a free lesson on how to determine if we are on a collision course as we closed onto a pod of bulk carriers steaming south east in the shipping channel.

1700 home, refuelled, tied up and shut down at 1745.

Thanks to the crew for their time.  Each successful rescue is a team effort and relies upon a lot of people who are not always on the rescue boat. Thanks – you know who you are.

Time on job: 7¼ hours      Fuel Used: 540 litres


Activation 15/05/16

Skipper: Ray Lewis

Crew: Michel Del Aguila & David Burge (first activation)

Task: Tow, Pioneer Point

I was at the radio room discussing another incident with Alan when we got a call from a member who was broken down at Pioneer Point with 3 POB and required assistance.

I asked Alan to organise a crew while I went to VMR1.  With crew on board and checks completed, we departed the marina at 1205 hrs and proceeded to Pioneer Point to take the vessel in tow back to the Port of Airlie boat ramp.

Activation 15 05 16.jpgIt just happened to be low tide and a 20 knot wind blowing on to the side of the pontoon so we rafted the vessel to the starboard bow outside the entrance.  Then as we approached the pontoon, I swung the bow into the wind and placed the vessel onto the end of the pontoon. With the bow of VMR1 was touching the muddy bottom, a quick release and we were out of there.

We returned to Abell Point to fuel up, berthed and were completed by 1345 hrs.

My thanks to the crew for an efficient activation.

Time on job: 1¾ hours      Fuel Used: 52 litres


Activation  27/05/16

Skipper: Fin Forbes

Senior Crew: Tom Manning

Crew: Michel Del Aguila & John Fearnley

Task: Safety Patrol (Clayton’s Activation)  Face-wink

Warm moist Northerly winds can mean boats dragging their moorings / anchors and heading towards the rock walls.  Today was just one of those days.

A near miss was observed outside Abell Point Marina in the morning – and Bill (24/7 Phone Holder) rang at 1455 to say that Mackay Police Coordinator was requesting us to aid in towing a 35 ft ketch away from the Whitsunday Sailing Club rock wall. The Water Police had given us permission/ instructions to allow us to handle a vessel without the owner aboard if we had to.

As I was walking towards VMR1 at APM, an Marine Services Qld officer caught up with me and said that there might be another vessel in difficulties outside APM, so could we just check as we proceeded to the Sailing Club.

We left APM at 1515 and observed no problems as we moved to the sailing club and nothing obvious there also. We were signalled by the MSQ gentleman (on the rock wall) that all was now OK and in control – so we headed back to our pen.

Time on job: 20 mins


Activation 28/05/16

Skipper: Ray Lewis

Senior Crew: Tom Manning

Crew: Norbert Gross, David Burge and Alexis Sabatino

Task: Tow, Rattray Island

At approximately 1615, Dewi called to say that he had a water police activation located at Rattray Island where two persons had a leaking boat.  I accepted the skipper’s role as it would be late in the day when VMR1 would get there.

We departed Abell Point Marina at 1645 with Alexis taking over the helm to Rattray Island where we arrived at 1745, just as it was getting dark.  The 4.5 metre vessel was able to motor out to us so we hooked on and commenced towing to Dingo Beach.activation 28 05 16.jpg

As we towed, we could see the crew bail and the bilge pump continued to throw water overboard.  We dropped the tow a little offshore and they motored the rest of the way in.

The return to APM in the dark was a little rougher as we we going into wind and swell.

With David and Alexis sharing the helm, we made back to Abell Point Marina, refuelled and finished at 1945.

My thanks to the crew especially Alexis as it was her first activation.

Time on job: 3 hours


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