155 people rescued by VMR in a year

VOLUNTEER Marine Rescue Bundaberg's 45 activations in 2014-15 resulted in 155 people being returned to safety before the incidents escalated into major emergencies.

VMR spokesman, Graham Kingston, said the activations included 26 breakdowns for situations ranging from damaged sails combined with engine problems, steering failure, faulty starter motors, electrical problems and anchor chain or rope tangled in propellers.

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Unfortunately six of the activations were to supply fuel. 

One of these activations was a 160nm run to a vessel in the open ocean, 8nm SE of Sandy Cape. 

Another 93nm job took fuel to a vessel whose skipper was disoriented in the Break Sea Spit area and with insufficient fuel to make Burnett Heads.  These incidents are totally preventable with adequate planning for journey distance and likely sea conditions. 

The 1/3 rule is relevant - 1/3 for going out, 1/3 coming home and 1/3 for running around and the unexpected, such as change in conditions.

Two activations involved application of initial first aid and to relieve an exhausted crew on an international yacht. 

The first aid incident helped two adults and two children involved in a boat crash into the pontoon at Burnett Heads, while our relief crew took over from a husband and wife crew who had been battling heavy seas for several days after an aborted trip to Noumea.

We were activated for three EPIRB incidents, but with subsequent stand-downs when a helicopter rescue was determined more appropriate and again when the fishermen from a capsized dinghy swam to shore near Baffle Creek.

The minor flood in the Burnett River in February 2015 resulted in two activations.  One was a hazardous midnight run up to the Town Reach to assist a 40' trimaran with an unserviceable engine and drifting down river with debris fouling the anchor chain. 

The other was an assisted berthing of a vessel with insufficient power to raise anchor and make way against the current.

Mr Kingston also noted that the 45 activations covered 2,271nm, requiring some 11,274L of fuel.  Eleven activations covered between 50 and 150nm, while 13 were between 20 and 50nm. 

The longest job took 20 hours to complete and demonstrated the resilience of the rescue crews and benefits of training.

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The incident is happening 20km off shore