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Friday, April 19, 2024

Marine Rescue News

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October was a very rare month for us these days, we actually did fewer activations than the same month last year, but are still 11% ahead for the year to date. This might be a sign that activations are plateauing (not necessarily a bad thing), but watch this space. 576 people have been assisted by us so far this year, 335 of which were during medivacs.


Stinger season is officially here, and there has already been an Irukandji sting reported. Make sure you wear a stinger suit if you are going into the water, they give very good protection against the unlikely chance of coming into contact with an Irukandji.


A major service provided by VMR Whitsunday is to tow vessels to a safe haven (usually their launching point, where possible).  Jetskis are different to standard boats in that they have a water intake at the front and we have been advised that engine damage may be caused by towing above a recommended speed – sometimes as low as 6 knots – for some makes and models.

VMR Whitsunday offers a towing service for most vessels including jetskis, conditions permitting. We suggest that you check your jetski operator’s manual or consult your dealer on whether there is a recommended procedure to be completed before towing commences – for example, some models have a tap/valve which must be turned off, or you can carry clamps to shut off the intake flow. It will be the jetski owner’s responsibility to take the recommended remedial action, including the positioning of clamps. VMR Whitsunday is not an expert in jetskis, but can tow them – at the owner’s own risk, at an agreed safe speed. You are responsible for any damage that may be caused by towing. 

If you call for assistance, we are prepared to tow you, but our skippers have been instructed that the tow cannot commence before you sign our standard indemnity document.  VMR Whitsunday does not suggest any particular approach to be taken or devices to be used for the tow, and your agreement will signify your acceptance of full responsibility.

Personal watercraft speed and distance

It is important that PWC/Jetski operators do not exceed set speed limits for your safety and that of everyone else on the water. Do not travel at speeds where your wash can cause damage to the shoreline, other boats or injury to others. Consider the density of traffic in the area to determine a safe speed.

When riding a PWC the following distances must be maintained, or speed reduced to 6 knots (approx. 11 kph) within 60 metres from:

• people in the water

• anchored or moored boats, boat ramps, jetties or pontoons

• the shore

• the boundary of a bathing reserve.

VMRW membership is cheap insurance at just $80. You can join online at https://vmrwhitsundays.com.au/join/ and your membership helps to keep us going in case you need us. We hope you don’t!

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