The summer has thrown up many a curve ball with a search, towing across the bar and most recently a Mayday in the North East.
27th of December:
“Today four members of St Helens Marine Rescue were called upon to investigate an upturned dinghy on Georges Bay. Under the auspices of the St Helens Police the vessel was towed ashore. A search and rescue then ensued as the occupants whereabouts was unknown. Half a dozen vessels, persons on shore and a rescue helicopter were also engaged in the search. Some four hours later it was established those on board had swum ashore and were uninjured. An enormous amount of time and effort was put into this operation with a positive outcome. However, the take out from this is when an incident occurs on the water it is the responsibility of the skipper to inform authorities as soon as practicable. That way emergency services can act in a timely, appropriate manner.”
29th of December
After a major breakdown with the propulsion aboard yacht Pukana, St Helens Marine Rescue towed the vessel and crew to anchor. Pukanna was a competitor in the Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race. The initial tow took place from the Middle Ground off St Helens Island to anchor in Bernes Bay. It was too dangerous to attempt a crossing of the barway at that time as a large confused swell during an outgoing tide made conditions perilous.
Later during the day a tow and crossing of the bar took place at the top of the tide. The journey was a routine tow through the Bay by highly qualified members (Rodney, JD and John) of St Helens Marine Rescue. Once close to the St Helens harbour Pukana was rafted to the rescue vessel “Georges Bay” to a successful tie up at the marina.
9th of January
“Mayday call at 1400 hours today. St Helens Marine Rescue received a Mayday call through radio operator Tony. The situation realised a vessel with 3 persons on board was taking on water and was in need of urgent assistance. Tony put out a call to all vessels North East of Binalong Bay. Mures fishing vessel Dianna responded immediately with an offer of assistance. Police were informed of the emergency. It was determined the stricken vessel was 13 nautical miles North East of the St Helens Bar. Diana found the sinking vessel and remained alongside until the vessel finally succumbed and sank. Diana and its crew quickly rescued the men and ensured their health and well being. In the meantime rescue vessel Georges Bay was dispatched, with skipper Rodney and crewmen Ken and John, to meet with Diane in Binalong Bay. From there the survivors were returned unharmed back to St Helens. Throughout the ordeal Tony maintained communications between the rescuing vessel Diana, the Police and our rescue vessel Georges Bay. The excellence of Dianna’s response under the command of Skipper Russell and radio operator Tony maintained an outstanding survival outcome.”
Despite all the safety equipment aboard the stricken vessel it sank within seconds after finally taking on water over the stern. The excellence of this survival outcome are attributed to:
1. The new radio equipment at St Helens Marine Rescue which picked up the Mayday through the radio operator Tony;
2. The outstanding response by the skipper Russell and crew aboard Diana;
3. The transfer of the survivors from Diana to rescue vessel Georges Bay then back to St Helens;
4. The constant radio and phone communication between the radio room at the Base, the stricken vessel, Diana and the Tasmania Police.