The QF17 crews have had a busy month, averaging an assist to mariners every 2.5 days and members have volunteered some 2,300 hours at the base this past month.
Mariners should be aware that after the April survey of the WBB, the channels and sandbars have dramatically changed during the previous 12 months. Suggested references are in some cases, almost 400m away from reference points mariners are currently familiar with.
Added to that, MSQ has removed the sector lights that are used to indicate safe areas when crossing the bar. It’s best to logon with Coast Guard whenever you are planning a journey and especially if planning a WBB crossing.
Unfortunately, another boat was lost on the bar only a few weeks ago and four people were very lucky to be found (by accident) as they hadn’t logged on, they didn’t have the latest information on danger areas and hadn’t had time to activate an EPIRB! No sense in buying a lotto ticket, they used up all their good luck!
QF17 is piloting a ‘Basic Introduction to Boating Skills’. This program is designed to address ‘what to do when/if things go wrong’ and, ‘what’s that thingy bit of equipment?’ The course we ran May 19 went so well, another course is scheduled June 9 from 8.30am to 12.30. Bookings are essential.
A Coastal Navigation Course is scheduled on Saturday June 16. Designed to introduce the mariner to basic plotting and navigation skills with a goal to be able to successfully plan a coastal voyage. Numbers are strictly limited so bookings are essential.
Other courses scheduled for June and early July include First Aid, Long-Range and Short-Range Marine Radio Operations. These are Nationally Approved Courses. Please reserve your spot early.
The Marine Assist Program is undergoing a revival and will be even more important to the boaters, sailors, Jet-skiers and paddlers but also offer more options. Watch this space for updates.
On May 31, QF17 escorted some 25 yachts across the WBB to spend a night in Tin Can Bay. These yachts are part of an international as well as Australia-wide group of ‘Yachters’ who annually meet for a month in Airlie Beach.
We recently completed lease negotiations with Qld Transport (our landlords) and they have granted us a further four years lease on our premises.
Although we were not granted an option for extension at the end of the lease, they indicated their support for us and recognised QF17 was a very import “fixture” of the Maritime Community and will support us when or if needed. Since we will be here, at least till 2022 to assist the community, we are calling on any support you can offer.
We are still in desperate need of volunteers to assist on radio duty and fundraising activities. NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY, as you will learn everything you need to know. Same goes for anyone wishing to help as a crew member on our rescue vessels.
Please contact us on 5486 4290 for any information on courses, to volunteer or for navigation assistance.