VMR notches up record with ‘big bugger’ rescue tow
VMR Whitsunday has pulled off its biggest rescue after a 90-tonne vessel experienced engine issues off the coast of Airlie Beach.
The 18m vessel ran into trouble on its way back from Grimston Point and drifted towards Coral Sea Marina when the volunteer service was called in for a tow.
VMR Whitsunday president Mal Priday said the call came in about 12.30pm Tuesday and a crew was able to reach the vessel shortly before 1.30pm.
Mr Priday said there were steering and engine issues before a generator failed to fire, requiring some help getting it safely to harbour.
“It was a big bugger,” he said.
“That’s the biggest tow this (VMR Whitsunday) boat has done, and I’m very glad it had twin diesels instead of outboards.
“With the size of the boat and the weight of the boat, manoeuvring it was tricky.
“It’s great teamwork and a real reflection on the ability of our volunteer crews.”
The rescued vessel dwarfs the VMR boat, which Mr Priday said was 44ft – a sizeable boat in anyone’s book.
The estimate weight of the rescued vessel, at 90 tonnes, meant it was a complicated mission.
The VMR crew ultimately opted to push the boat to safety in Coral Sea Marina.
Mr Priday said it was the second rescue call for the service this month after a busier-than-usual June for boaties.
VMR Whitsunday responded to seven rescues last month, compared to six in the same month last year, and four medevacs from Hamilton Island.
Mr Priday said the service was available at all hours and encouraged boat owners to become members.
A tow from Whitehaven Beach, he said, would be free for members.
“We are the safety net for the boating and island communities in the Whitsundays,” he said.