Civic reps see rescuers act
TIN Can Bay Coast Guard volunteers took a couple of special guests across one of the most dangerous bars on Australia's eastern coast at the weekend.
A training exercise was carried out with rescue vessels to highlight the extensive level of training required by Coast Guard volunteers, and the major operational costs needed to continue operations.
Operations include helping skippers navigate the treacherous Wide Bay Bar and rescuing vessels in distress at sea anywhere between Indian Head on Fraser Island to Double Island Point.
Deputy Mayor Tony Perrett and Cr Graham Engeman accepted the invitation and experienced Coast Guard operations first-hand on Saturday.
The crew carried out a simulated rescue of a distressed vessel, which included a tow back to base.
Another training drill demonstrated was the "man overboard" scenario.
Crew member Rastus (a training dummy) "fell" over the starboard side of the boat, the alarm was raised, and Rastus was soon hauled aboard, waterlogged, but none the worse for the experience.
The crew then carried out a crew transfer at speed with Coast Guard's primary rescue vessel, Cooloola Rescue II travelling alongside the inshore rescue boat, Mount Rescue.
Both vessels maintained the same speed and position without the use of lines to secure the two together.
The manoeuvre demands a high level of skill from the crews.
Cooloola Rescue then crossed the Wide Bay Bar.
Fortunately for the councillors they experienced a good bar crossing, with calm conditions, seas of 1.2m, a swell of 1.5m and southeast winds of 10 to 15 knots.
Bad weather and tidal conditions can generate breaking waves and treacherous seas with waves up to 8m.
In many cases these waves are backless, making it dangerous, and often impossible, for any vessel - including a Coast Guard vessel - to attempt a bar crossing.
Once over the bar, the Coast Guard headed to Double Island Point, where the crew enjoyed morning tea before crossing back to base at Tin Can Bay.
"Gympie Council is a strong supporter of Coast Guard Tin Can Bay and it is hoped that the familiarisation with our activities highlighted some of the operational and financial difficulties experienced by the flotilla," Commander Jim George said.
"I want to thank council for their ongoing support. Without it the marine rescue group would find it difficult to exist."
All training drills carried out on Coast Guard vessels are performed in a professionally managed environment by trained personnel.
DID YOU KNOW?
The cost to operate Coast Guard Tin Can Bay each year is about $150,000.
Operational hours are 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Tin Can Bay has 100 volunteer Coast Guard members.
A minimum of three hours per week is required from Coast Guard members.
The commander averages about 50 hours a week.
About 50 boats are rescued each year.
First-time skippers are provided an escort over the Wide Bay Bar.