ON DECK: VMR Bundaberg were kept busy at the weekend as two yachts got into trouble off Bundaberg.
ON DECK: VMR Bundaberg were kept busy at the weekend as two yachts got into trouble off Bundaberg. Paul Donaldson BUN190617TOW5

Stricken yachties keep VMR volunteers busy

THOSE who voluntarily give their time to help out sinking, stranded and in-trouble vessels in waters off our coast were given a tough task to tackle even as National Volunteers Week wrapped up.

Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg Skipper Erwin Hoffmann said late Saturday afternoon dinner plans were thrown out the window as its volunteer members sprung into action to assist a yacht with two people on board.

"In over 25 knot south-easterly winds and a swell of about 2.5m, Bundy Rescue went to the assistance of a yacht ... that was unable to run her engine and thus unable to power any navigation or electrical equipment,” he said.

"It also had a jib and mainsail stuck about three-quarters of the way down that was unable to be pulled down completely.

"It wouldn't have been particularity nice for them out on the water for the night and it was a difficult job for us with the sails still up.

"The yacht continually moved, especially in the wind being experienced, which made towing and eventually anchoring in the Burnett River very difficult.”

Then less than eight hours later MrHoffmann said it was nearly all systems go again when an international yacht hit the sandbanks off Moore Park Beach after autopilot failed to navigate, 12 nautical miles out to sea.

"We got activated at 4.30am the next morning ... to go to the aid of a 12m sailing yacht with two people on board that had run aground,” he said.

"He's very lucky he didn't end up sideways on the beach.”

Mr Hoffmann said the skipper managed to reverse the yacht from the beach without assistance, but it was a timely reminder for boaties to always keep watch and never entirely rely on autopilot.

"You must maintain a proper lookout at all times by all available means,” he said.

"If there had been another vessel in front of him he would have run into it.

"But we're very grateful he had the know-how and experience to extract himself.”



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