University Students visit St Helens

Five second year medical students from the University of Tasmania spent a week in St Helens. They participated in the “2017 Rural Communities Program 2017 – East Coast”. St Helens Marine Rescue started their week with a guided tour of our facilities and presented an overview of our operations. Below is part of their report and their impressions of St Helens.

University of Tas 2nd Year Medical Students walk the pristine Binalong Bay beach

University of Tas 2nd Year Medical Students walk the pristine Binalong Bay beach

We are second year medical students from The University of Tasmania: Michael, Ellie, Serina, Brian, and Amy. The rural week program at St Helens has allowed us to experience first-hand rural living and health. Throughout the week and activities, we were exposed to the health services available, whilst learning from the community’s own perspective on what the prevalent health issues are that need to be addressed.

The Marine Rescue Association in St Helens oversees health and safety of commercial and recreational mariners at Georges Bay. It is run by volunteers, primarily retirees, but some still in employment. They are involved with escorting vessels through the shallow waters of the bay, monitoring the radios, and in rescue operations. High standards are imposed on vessels and training, with several volunteers holding a Coxswain certification.

There was a great community spirit in St Helens and of the people we met, a large proportion of the population which volunteer to serve the community. It was wonderful to see how passionate people were about the organisation of which they were serving and number of years of which they have been associated with the various groups.

On our rural week placement, we have enjoyed observing the great social connectedness of the community and found the locals to be very warm and welcoming.

We would like to sincerely thank all who were involved in organising and educating us before and during our stay – this was truly an invaluable experience!

We were honoured to have these distinguished visitors visit our community. We wish them the very best in their future studies. You never know we may see them back on the East Coast as General Practitioners.

 

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120 Year Old Yacht Visits St Helens

We at St Helens Marine Rescue are privileged to escort another princess of the seas to St Helens. This time it is Heartsease (pronounced Hart Seas), a vessel built in 1897 in New Zealand. ‘Heartsease’ is named after  a New Zealand wild flower. It is 47 feet long with an enormous mast. Skipper Peter is delighted to stop over at St Helens to replenish and rest over.

We escorted her into Georges Bay and will do the same on her departure this Thursday on the top of the tide. Skipper, Peter Repaja, is totally chipper with the wonderful waters of Georges Bay and the hospitality of the best place in North Eastern Tasmania.

Image may contain: sky, ocean, cloud, boat, outdoor, water and nature
The following excerpt was taken from:
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/manly-daily/pittwater-yacht-faces-tricky-conditions-sailing-to-hobart/news-story/86da8423d91a5d2dac4792de31399b14

Newport’s Peter Repaja and yachting partner Alex Gilmour were forced to dock their yacht Heartsease at Bermagui on the south coast of NSW, on voyage to Hobart.

They were aiming for Hobart’s famous Wooden Boat Festival — held at Constitution Dock every two years.

The skipper said the trip across Bass Strait had been challenging. “There were fairly high winds and confused seas,” he said. “We’re currently tied up near Constitution Dock and now we are relaxing — drying ourselves out.”

“This yacht has beautiful and majestic lines,” he said. “She has a clipper bow and a counter stern. Heartsease always turns heads.”

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Anmaropa Wreck at the entrance to Georges Bay

Mariners are reminded of the sunken vessel Anmaropa at the mouth of Georges Bay. It is clearly marked by a blue and yellow navigation buoy. Photo courtesy of MaST

Mariners are reminded of the sunken vessel Anmaropa at the mouth of Georges Bay. It is now marked by a pink buoy. Photo courtesy of MaST

 

 

M18-17 Navigation Wreck Buoy – Georges Bay Barway. Location: 41 degrees 16 237 S; 148 degrees 20 072 E
The Anmaropa wreck has a pink buoy (see photo below) marking its location.

Skippers are urged to exercise due care when entering Georges Bay. Contact St Helens Marine Rescue for assistance.

 

 

The Anmaropa wreck at the mouth of Georges Bay is marked by a pink buoy.

The Anmaropa wreck at the mouth of Georges Bay is marked by a pink buoy.

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Rescue on the High Seas – An Incredible Tale

Veronica, one of our dedicated radio operators, received an emergency call from Get Reel with 8 PoB (People on Board) on the Cliffs. The Cliffs are located off the continental shelf East of St Helens. The situation was their batteries had failed, hence they could not start their motors. With deteriorating weather, rising seas and strong winds, Get Reel’s situation was becoming dire.

Veronica issued a call to all vessels requesting assistance for Get Reel. One local recreationer responded and commenced the journey to the stricken vessel. Within a small space of time the weather had deteriorated so much the assistance vessel had to turn back. Another call to all vessels was issued, however there was no response. Not to be deterred Veronica put out an emergency call on VHF 82, repeater channel in North Eastern Tasmania. Fortunately a commercial vessel called Diamantina, responded. They were transiting south from the Furneaux Group of Islands. The next challenge was to establish where Get Reel was located. Fortunately a passenger aboard Get Reel had an IPhone and was able to determine their exact coordinates (latitude and longitude) using Compass in the Utilities App. This proved to be a game changer as Diamantina was then able to use this bearing to locate Get Reel.

Incredibly despite very rough conditions a battery transfer took place from Diamantina by throwing  a rope to Get Reel and  passing a spare battery in a sealed bag. Get Reel  re-started their engines and return safely to Burns Bay.

This video shows Diamantina approaching Get Reel, taken from inside Get Reel.     Video of Diamantina

Diamantina cruising towards Get Reel from the North.

Diamantina cruising towards Get Reel from the North.

Diamantina alongside Get Reel.

Diamantina alongside Get Reel.

 

Diamantina cruises on past Get Reel.

Diamantina cruises on past Get Reel.

This is an incredible tale of providing for the safety and well being of mariners at sea. St Helens Marine Rescue’s highly trained radio operators are the lynch pin to our success in being able to respond in the case of an emergencies. No vessel goes to sea expecting the unexpected, when emergencies occur mariners can be assured your emergency volunteers are ready for action.

The response of Diamantina was an outstanding example of cooperation and response in the case of an emergency.

The take outs from this episode:

1. All on board were safe and sound, they had the appropriate safety equipment and did not panic;

2. The use of a mobile phone to determine the coordinates was a saviour;

3. A VHF radio in good working order;

4. SOLAS (Safety Of Life At Sea) convention played a major role, Diamantina is an outstanding example of this;

5. St Helens Marine rescue is on standby.

St Helens Marine Rescue can be called on VHF Channel 16 and Repeater 82 from 0800 until 1710 hours daily. Our phone number is 0400 817 359 -  24/7.

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Early Morning Start for St Helens Marine Rescue to the Rescue

Today, St Helens Marine Rescue was called to respond to an injured crewman aboard the Fremantle yacht Jaffa, a Melbourne to Hobart competitor. Jaffa was on its return voyage to Melbourne. We commenced at 0600 hours, rendezvousing with Jaffa at 0640 off St Helens Point. In search of calmer waters we guided Jaffa back to Burns Bay. The graphic below highlights the AIS track taken from Marine Traffic.com. Once we returned to the Bay the injured crewman was successfully transferred to our SAR Vessel “Georges Bay”. We then proceeded to the boat ramp and jetty where the St Helens Volunteer Ambulance was standing by to transport the patient to the St Helens Hospital. A very successful outcome from very a accomplished Marine Rescue Crew. We extend our appreciation to Tas Maritime Radio, they provided radio support throughout.

Marine Traffic's track of Georges Bay on the way to rendezvousing with Jaffa

Marine Traffic’s track of Georges Bay on the way to rendezvousing with Jaffa

Jaffa being escorted from below St Helens Point in a confused swell. We had to seek calmer waters to transfer the injured crewman. Fortunately Burns Bay offered calm waters from the SE swell.

Jaffa under escort below St Helens Point.

Jaffa under escort below St Helens Point.

Jaffa under sail.

Jaffa under full sail.

Jaffa under full sail.

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