St Helens Marine Rescue Responds

Stieglitz fire from Break O' Day along Parkside Beach - Courtesy of I Hollingsworth

Stieglitz fire from Break O’ Day along Parkside Beach – Courtesy of Ian Hollingsworth

Sunday the 19th of October, 2014 gave Tasmania a reminder of the upcoming summer and the potential for fire. Bush fires are very much a part of the Australian landscape, St Helens was made aware and received a salutary reminder of this when  a stronger then anticipated wind shift propelled a burn off towards the residences of Stieglitz. An emergency was enacted to combat the out of control situation. With the only road to St Helens Point made inaccessible by the wild fire, resulting in the stranding the residences of Stieglitz and Akaroa, a serious fire emergency was in place.

President JD and the local government emergency response coordinator, Christine Hughes, called upon St Helens Marine Rescue to respond to a call to evacuate residences who had gathered at the community fire safe zone - the Stieglitz boat ramp/jetty.  The bay was effectively the only transport route between Stieglitz and St Helens. A crew made up of Ian Hollingsworth, Tony Graside & John Sullivan quickly deployed Break O’ Day, launching  at 5:00 pm. Mayor Sarah Schmerl accompanied the crew,  a pass by along the beachside area (see photo) to look for evacuees was executed, fortunately no members of the public were stranded. On arrival at the Stieglitz jetty members of the community had gathered. A punt from one of the oyster farms and a local charter operator had also arrived. Evacuations were undertaken at 7:30 pm just as the skies opened up with quenching rain, thus quelling the flames.

After we cleaned up volunteers and evacuees were invited to St Helens Books and Coffee  ( who had opened its doors to provide a welcomed cuppa and wonderful/yummiest  toasted sandwiches.

Whilst this event is a reminder of potential summer fires, St Helens can be proud of its response to this emergency.

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Visitors to Break O’Day

Power of VHF Radio

Lucia tied up at St Helens wharf

Lucia tied up at St Helens wharf

Sunday 12th of October, 2014, New Zealand yacht (catamaran) “Lucia” calls on channel 16 at 0745 hours. The skipper was seeking passage across the St Helens bar into Georges Bay. Conditions were good for a barway crossing. Queries covered tide, water depth, channel, and directions through the Bay to dock at the Esplanade wharf. Radio operator John gave instructions to cross the bar and enter to an area colloquially referred to as ‘The Paddock’. Motoring the channel along the sea wall to Pelican Point then follow the red and green markers to ply the waters of Georges Bay for St Helens.

An easy cruise across the scenic, tranquil waters of Georges Bay gave our international visitors a beautiful entry to North East Tasmania. At the 5 knot green pylon on approach to The Esplanade the crew enquired as to the availability of a place to tie up. Fortunately one spot remained at the jetty. With assistance from a local fisherman the impressive ocean going catamaran successfully secured its lines to the wharf.

After a heavy night of buffeting at sea crossing Banks Strait, the crew were relieved to land on terra firma. Three days of R & R and site seeing Lucia cast off for the next leg of her journey to Hobart.

Respite from the sea

Sonia salutes Georges Bay

Sonia & Guy salute Georges Bay

“Nuin Bay”, a life style cruiser, entered Georges Bay courtesy of an escort through the barway and Georges Bay in blustery conditions. Their journey is from Kettering  to Eden then to its new home, Lake Macquarie in NSW. After tying up and settling in at the St Helens Marina exploration of our unique part of the world simply called North East Tasmania began. Hot on the list of things to do was to sample the outstanding oysters of Georges Bay.

Oysters are the very best of the NE fare.

The author took Sonia to the oyster farm where she purchased 5 dozen unshucked oysters. The oyster racks across the Bay were the driver to sample this delicacy. After three days, Nuin Bay set off for Eden in the very best ocean conditions before journeying to Lake Macquarie.

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St Helens Is Open For Business

Notice to mariners visiting and enjoying the North East of Tasmania.

The summer marine season is rapidly approaching. The sunny east coast is a mecca for maritime pursuits for yachters, boaters and professional fishers. Georges Bay is an outstanding recreational waterway for swimming, fishing, photographers and magnificent site seeing. There is something for all visitors in this place of paradise. When you venture by a friendly welcome mat is laid out for you. Drop into the St Helens Marine Rescue Base on The Esplanade and you will get an extra welcome with advice and assistance in relation to conditions in and on The Bay and at sea.

St Helens Barway Courtesy of GoogleEarth

St Helens Barway Courtesy of GoogleEarth

For sea farers the entry to Georges Bay is available and navigable when conditions prevail (I point out this is most of the time). This is the gateway to the Bay and will afford you a 6.5 nautical mile cruise to  St Helens. The pristine waters of the area is the beginning of your time with us.

The image to the left depicts the entrance to Georges Bay. If you are not familiar with the navigational channels and would like assistance , don’t hesitate to contact St Helens Marine Rescue on VHF Channel 16 or phone 0408 817 359.


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Hunters Products Sponsors St Helens Marine Rescue

hunters logo

Matthew Hateley and JD at the presentation

Matthew Hateley and JD at the presentation

Hunters Products is a most welcomed sponsor of St Helens Marine Rescue. They are a proud and loyal Tasmania Company providing hygiene products state wide since 1948. Hunters employ Tasmanians as well as contributing generously to community organisations. St Helens Marine Rescue is thrilled to receive Hunter’s sponsorship. Their contribution will go a long way towards meeting our cost of operations. This generosity is a clear endorsement of their motto , “We make it in Tasmania”.

Matthew Hateley of Hunters Products presented President John Dearing (JD) with sponsorship outside Marine Rescue’s Base Station. JD expressed his delight and appreciation of Hunter’s support.

For a full range of hygiene and cleaning products check out Hunter’s web site.

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St Helens Game Fishing Club – Another Successful Year

Swordfish off St Helens

Swordfish off St Helens

August the 9th, 2014, signalled the annual St Helens Game Fishing Club Annual Dinner/AGM at the Bayside Inn St Helens. Greg (Tubby) Quinn was re-elected President for the forthcoming year.

In the course of the evening Tubby presented the President of St Helens Marine Rescue, John Dearing (JD), sponsorship and a certificate of appreciation for their ongoing support of the St Helens Game Fishing Club.

St Helens Marine Rescue provided hourly VHF radio coverage throughout the day and weather reports for the annual St Helens Game Fishing Classic. In response JD thanked the Game Fishing Club for the most welcomed support. This generosity contributes to the ongoing costs of providing marine safety services to the boating community in North Eastern Tasmania. The service plays a small but critical part to the outstanding success of the Game Fishing Classic. This major, annual recreation fishing competition brings enormous financial benefits to the Community of St Helens.

After all St Helens is the Game Fishing Capital of Tasmania.

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