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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A Big Day for St Helens Marine Rescue/Anmaropa navigation buoy

St Helens Marine Rescue wishes everyone a very Merry and Safe Christmas. We encourage all boaters to check their vessel gear, your lifejackets and most importantly check the weather before going on the water.

A day in the life of a VMR. Deployed to escort the luxury cruiser Patriot X. The journey traversed Georges Bay, through the notoriously shallow Pelican Point and then across the St Helens Barway. After a final salute we wished Skipper Phil a safe and enjoyable trip to destination Hobart.

We returned to base, washed down our vessel. At the time of garaging a call came through, “Yacht has lost engine power, requesting assistance”. Our fast response rescue vessel returned to the water, got under way for the Merricks. We rendezvoused outside the St Helens bar. There we threw a tow line to RQ Six with 6 PoB. The tow was routine made possible by a highly trained, expert crew. Once we arrived in Beauty Bay we unhitched and rafted up for the final journey to the St Helens Marina. This again was a copybook exercise. Our radio room operator maintained outstanding coverage throughout.

So ended a 5 hour duty for our volunteers. Great work from skipper JD, crew Tony, John and John, radio operator Veronica.

Patriot X Follows our escort through the mid channel of Georges Bay

Patriot X Follows our escort through the mid channel of Georges Bay

Patriot X waves good bye on its way to Hobart once clearing the St Helens Bar.

Patriot X waves goodbye on its way to Hobart once clearing the St Helens Bar.

RQ Six under tow into Beauty Bay. It was on its way to Beauty Point in the Tamar River when experiencing heating problems off St Helens Point.

RQ Six under tow into Beauty Bay. It was on its way to Beauty Point in the Tamar River when experiencing heating problems off St Helens Point.

Check us out on Facebook, search for St Helens Marine Rescue.

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 clearly marked by a blue and yellow navigation buoy. Photo courtesy of MaST.

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Posted in Activities, St Helens Barway

Drone video of the St Helens Bar/Mariner Safety with VHF radio/MaST post

Video of Barway

Recently a community member from St Helens flew a drone over the St Helens Bar. It graphically illustrates the new extension sea wall and most importantly the movement of sand around the edge of the wall. The video was shot on the 5th of November, it can be found via this link:

Drone view of the St Helens Bar

VHF Radio Mariners may be aware that St Helens Marine Rescue is a marine rescue base station. Daily we monitor vessels after they log on to our VHF radio service. With this communication skippers log on giving details of vessel name, launch location, people aboard, present location, destination, estimated time of return and finally log off at the end of the day. Throughout the day our radio operators provide this monitoring service in order to give mariners an added level of safety.

St Helens Volunteer Marine Rescue encourages all mariners to log on to utilise this service. It is an added extension to the safety measures already aboard your vessel. Call us on VHF Channel 16, once received the operator will ask you to go to Channel 71 to take down your details.

MaST message

MaST has issued a timely reminder to all skippers with the opening of the 2016/17 crayfish season. This can be seen on MaST’s Facebook page or by going to the following link:

MaST Facebook  Post

Safe and enjoyable boating for the upcoming summer. Remember prepare well, check the weather and definitely zero alcohol aboard.

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St Helens Marine Rescue Welcomes a Sponsor

On Friday the 28th of October senior broker and director of Finance Brokers of Tasmania (FBT) Lance Cure presented St Helens Marine Rescue with sponsorship for the upcoming boating season. After the presentation Lance was given a familiarisation tour of our facilities. He was very impressed by what he saw and remarked how important volunteer marine rescue was for the safety of mariners. FBT’s generosity will be put to good use as St Helens Marine Rescue operates in a new world paradigm of marine rescue services requiring the latest and most stringent regulations of the National System of Commercial Vessels (NSCV) under the control of the Australian Maritime Surveillance Authority (AMSA). The sponsorship is most gratefully accepted as we continue the modernisation and update our services. We are embarking on:

·       An improved VHF radio tower that will give our radio operators greater coastal coverage;

·       Replacement of the St Helens Barway camera destroyed in the June storms;

·       A new tow vehicle capable of towing our rescue vessel Georges Bay, currently members vehicles perform this         task;

·       Replacement of emergency equipment such as EPIRB’s;

·       Base station extension to house our rescue vessels and equipment.

On behalf of St Helens Marine Rescue we appreciate the generosity of sponsors and welcome Finance Brokers of Tasmania as a valued sponsor. FBT are brokers specialising in finance for: Homes, Businesses, Machinery & Equipment, Vehicles & Investment Properties.

Paul Young holds the Finance Brokers of Tasmania's sponsorship announcement while director of FBT Lance Cure presents President John Dearing with sponsorship.

Paul Young holds the Finance Brokers of Tasmania’s sponsorship announcement while director of FBT Lance Cure presents President John Dearing with a cheque.

 

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