‘Silly’ holiday choices result in more VMR missions
FAMILIES are being lured out to the open waters by sunshine and perfect weather, but poor preparation may turn a holiday into a nightmare.
Skipper Charles Linsley said Volunteer Marine Rescue Mackay crews travelled more than 250km in two operations in just 24 hours at the weekend.
Mr Linsley said crews were called out on Saturday night, after a power boat suffered a mechanical failure at Alarm Reef, 100km off Mackay.
"(That's a) fitting place for such a call," Mr Linsley joked.
He said calm conditions meant everyone was quickly brought home safely.
But Mr Linsley said the crew on a poly craft with a split fuel tank was not so lucky.
The vessel broke down only 18km from the marina on Sunday, but Mr Linsley said rough conditions slowed the mission.
"Conditions were quite rough, making speeds slower and the tow home tough at times," he said.
While many VMR call outs were avoidable, Mr Linsley said these missions were because of bad luck.
"It was the propulsion system and engine failure, things that people couldn't have predicted," he said.
It capped off a busy week on the water for the region's rescue services.
Volunteer Marine Rescue Whitsunday secretary Roger Wadson said crews were sent out to nine activations last week, plucking 38 people from boat breakdowns and strandings.
Mr Wadson said the busy week was fuelled by families heading out for the holidays.
He said crews responded to six breakdowns, two vessels which ran out of fuel and one traveller who was stranded by the tide at Whitehaven Beach.
Mr Wadson said many of these call outs were avoidable, particularly the "silly" boaties who ran out of fuel.
"Some of the breakdowns were obviously due to poor maintenance," he said.
"But sometimes things just go wrong on the water."
Mr Wadson warned that bad luck and poor safety preparation could be deadly.
"Most of the boats we picked up did not have life jackets, including (vessels) with families with kids," he said.
For National Safe Boating Week, Mr Wadson reminded boaties to always have a life jacket on board, fuel up before heading out, to tell friends and family where they are travelling to and when they would return, and to have a VMR or coastguard membership.