HOME SAFE: Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg rescued a 7m plate boat with three people on board on Saturday.
HOME SAFE: Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg rescued a 7m plate boat with three people on board on Saturday. Contributed

Blockage fuels marine rescue mission

THREE people on board a 7m plate boat had to be rescued when their vessel had a fuel blockage.

Bundaberg Volunteer Marine Rescue was tasked to the boat on Saturday afternoon after it got into trouble 16 nautical miles north of the river while trying to return to Burnett Heads from the Warrego Shoals.

The situation was challenging for both the fishermen on board, who lost their anchor, and because a northerly wind picked up above 20 knots, which made it hard for the VMR crew to determine the boat's position.

Bundaberg VMR left Burnett Heads just before 4pm and, outside the river, could travel only about 11 knots an hour due to waves of up to 2m.

With much white water on the front deck, the drifting vessel was found at 5.10pm and towed.

The vessel was docked at Burnett Heads by 7.35pm.

The fishermen were grateful because winds were forecast to strengthen ahead of a strong wind warning.

A VMR spokesman said the activation was an example of VMR's early intervention preventing an escalation to an emergency.

That would have been the case if an EPIRB was activated or a Channel 16 distress call placed after 6pm.

The latter would then have required involvement of government emergency service resources.

VMR's afternoon weather broadcast was instrumental in a vessel opting to return from Lady Elliot Island ahead of forecast strong winds.



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