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Record VMR rescues for our local crews

BUSY: Volunteer Marine Rescue have had a big weekend.
BUSY: Volunteer Marine Rescue have had a big weekend. Andrea Davy

WHITSUNDAY Volunteer Marine Rescue responded to "eight or nine” boating emergencies at the weekend.

VMR's Mal Priday said he had been with the group for 16 years.

"And I think we had a record number of activations over the weekend,” he said.

Following two breakdowns Saturday morning, the crew was called to help a 5.2m boat with three people on board taking on water 25 miles north of Airlie Beach about lunchtime.

The leak was so bad the motor had stopped and the crew had to pump the water before towing it. Several times during the journey back, they stopped again to pump water, and didn't arrive until about 5pm.

Mr Priday said beautiful boating conditions had made for big numbers on the water.

"It was a day of really light, flat seas, light winds and every man and his dog was out there,” he said.

They were then called to a Medi-Vac from Hayman Island, and to three more breakdowns on Sunday.

A night time incident near Pioneer Rocks involved a small tinny left without fuel or lights.

"He was very lucky he wasn't run down by another vessel,” Mr Priday said.

"All he had was a mobile phone to wave at us.”

One ferry inadvertently got so close "he was talking to the people in the tinny”.

With cyclone season approaching, Mr Priday said this did not necessarily result in more rescues but warned boaties to be vigilant.

"They just need to pay attention to the weather forecast,” he said.

"A few simple precautions means we don't have to come out and get them and it keeps them safe.”

Membership to VMR costs $60.

Members are charged only the cost of fuel for a VMR rescue, while non-members are charged double.

Topics:  resuce, vmr, volunteer marine rescue, whitsundays


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