Whitsunday water police are urging residents to make sure boats are registered and correctly moored after a false alarm this morning.
Whitsunday water police are urging residents to make sure boats are registered and correctly moored after a false alarm this morning.

Mystery behind washed up boat at Shute Harbour solved

UPDATE 3PM: The search for a potential missing person has come to an end with police confirming an unattended boat that washed up at Shute Harbour had drifted from a nearby mooring.

A police spokesman said officers were called to Shute Harbour about 6.30am today where a five-metre white half-cab boat with a blue stripe through it had washed ashore.

It was not clear at the time whether someone had been onboard the boat or whether it was tied up nearby and had come loose.

The spokesman confirmed this afternoon that the washed-up boat was "nothing concerning" and the boat had drifted ashore.

This morning's false alarm has prompted calls from Whitsunday water police, who are urging residents to make sure boats are registered and correctly moored.

Senior Constable Christian Dunn said police were occupied for about four to five hours by this morning's search before officers were able to conclude the owner of the boat was safe and well.

Two VMR boats and police were called to Shute Harbour this morning after an unattended boat was found washed up.
Two VMR boats and police were called to Shute Harbour this morning after an unattended boat was found washed up.

"It's really important if you are getting out on the water or have recently purchased a boat to make sure it's registered in your name," he said.

"Today was all about not having enough information, and we had information that a boat that had no registration number was floating in Shute Harbour and had come adrift.

"We have to treat it like somebody is missing and treat it very seriously, like somebody is in the water.

"It puts a lot of strain on resources when (registering your boat) is a simple thing we could have put in place."

Whitsunday Volunteer Marine Rescue president Mal Priday echoed Sen-Constable Dunn's safety message following a busy weekend for his crew.

Whitsunday VMR responded the seven incidents at the weekend, including an early morning activation today after an RACQ CQ helicopter was dispatched to help search for an overdue vessel.

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Mr Priday urged people heading out on the water to make sure they alerted someone about where they were going and stayed mindful of the weather.

"It's really ramped up and got very busy for us," he said.

"Just make sure your boat is properly prepared and maintained and that you have the right safety equipment."

On a positive note, Whitsunday water police spotted their first whales of the season this morning.

Sen-Constable Dunn said those lucky enough to spot whales moving through the region should keep their distance and watch from afar.

"(Whales) are starting to move through the Whitsundays but just keep in mind when you're moving with restricted visibility to be mindful the whales are out there," he said.

 

INITIAL: Police are searching for what could be a missing person after an unattended boat washed ashore early this morning.

A police spokesman said officers were called to Shute Harbour about 6.30am.

They located a five-metre white half cab boat with a blue stripe through it.

The spokesman said inquires are being made as to whether there was someone on board the boat or whether it was tied up nearby and had come loose.

Whitsunday Volunteer Marine Rescue President Mal Priday said a crew was called to Shute Harbour about 5.30am.

Mr Priday said the VMR team was searching for what could possibly be "a person in the water from a vessel that has come free from where it was tied up and drifted in".

However, Mr Priday did not rule out that the vessel was tied up in Shute Harbour and had simply become untied and floated ashore with no one on board.

The boat was found in one of the barges and has since been secured.

Mr Priday said police were trying to track down the owner but were encountering difficulties because the boat had "multiple previous owners".

The current search adds to a busy morning for VMR Whitsunday after an RACQ CQ helicopter was dispatched to help search for an overdue vessel earlier this morning.

The helicopter crew found the vessel which was towed back to Coral Sea Marina by a VMR crew.

The vessel's late return was attributed to an engine problem.


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