Bad seamanship plagues the rescuers: Yepoon Coast Guard's week

Yeppoon Coast Guard - spending a lot of time rescuing those who have not exercised good seamanship
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Rescuers volunteer their time to save those who get into trouble on the water, but it behoves those who go boating to exercise good seamanship and make sure that their systems and crew ability are up to the task.

Certainly bad luck happens, but last week's rescues by Yepoon Coast Guard on Queensland's east coast says that too many boaters are not taking their seamanship responsibilities seriously:


Thursday, Engine maintenance:
AT 7am on Thursday morning (August 22), a radio message was relayed via Thirsty Sound Flotilla and Keppel Sands Flotilla from a 36 ft motor sailer in Pearl Bay, requesting a tow back to Rosslyn Bay after a motor breakdown.

Jim Goodsell and crew departed the harbour at 8.20am. They reached the yacht at 10.45am and then commenced a slow tow back at 8knots.

When it became obvious that the yacht would not be able to enter the harbour at low tide, speed was reduced to achieve a later arrival time. The tow was concluded at 5pm after eight and a half hours.

Friday, badly maintained EPIRB:
Shortly before 9am the Police SAR co-ordinator was alerted by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority that a distress beacon had been activated in Capricornia Waters.

AMSA and the Police had not been able to contact the registered owner, a Zilzie resident or his emergency contacts. The police requested assistance to find the vessel but could not initially provide a location.

John Tait, on radio, was able to confirm the vessel details, (7.2m Kevlacat), from our Supporters' Club records, but the vessel did not respond to radio calls or phone calls.

The boat had left Rosslyn Bay during the night without any notification of a trip plan and the car and trailer were still in the car park.
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After a further satellite pass, the location was identified in the vicinity of Outer Rock and QF11 was notified at 9.55am. At 10.10am Gormans Removals Rescue left the harbour to find the vessel which was believed to have four passengers.

Another vessel responded to an 'all ships' call and reported that it had been seen near Outer Rock. The crew of Gormans Removals Rescue found the boat near Sloping Island but the people on board who were returning from a fishing trip at Karamea Banks denied setting off an EPIRB.

They later claimed that, due to corrosion, it must have self-activated. Gormans Removals Rescue returned to Rosslyn Bay Harbour at 11.42am.

The incident highlighted the need for fishermen to provide a trip plan to relatives or the Coast Guard, to keep VHF radios turned on at all times and to avoid accidental activation of distress beacons.

Only the fact that the boat owner was a member of the Supporters' Club meant that details of the boat, car trailer and emergency contacts were known to the Coast Guard.

Friday, Lack of fuel planning:
On Friday afternoon a phone call was received from a Supporters' Club member in a small motor boat with three passengers that had run out of fuel three nautical miles north of Rosslyn Bay Harbour.

Kingsley Bartle and crew used Gormans Removals Rescue to deliver fuel, departing the harbour at 4.30pm and returning at 4.50pm.

Friday, Bad battery maintenance:
Before Gormans Removals Rescue returned, a phone call was received from another Supporters' Club member in a large half cabin boat with two passengers that had flat batteries close to the rocks on the SW corner of Humpy Island.

Jim Goodsell and crew left the harbour at 5.13pm to deliver a battery starter pack. The boat was started successfully and escorted back to Rosslyn Bay in the dark, arriving at 6.36pm.

Friday, lack of the use of navigational lights:
On the return trip the crew of Gormans Removals Rescue narrowly avoided a small motor boat that was heading to Great Keppel Island with no navigation lights showing.

Friday, bad engine maintenance:
Later that night, a phone call was received from a Supporters' Club member whose boat, with two people on board, had broken down in Keppel Bay in the vicinity of Conical Rocks.

Jim Goodsell and crew used Gormans Removals Rescue to tow the boat back to Rosslyn Bay, departing at 10.10pm and returning at 11.10pm.

This was the full list of the call-outs for Yepoon Coast Guard, 100% of which could probably have been avoided if the boat owners/skippers had shown better seamanship when the undertook their voyage.