Harley Moss checks out the damage to the hydraulic lift, as the crew of a repaired Cooloola Rescue conducted training yesterday.
Harley Moss checks out the damage to the hydraulic lift, as the crew of a repaired Cooloola Rescue conducted training yesterday. Contributed

Rescue marred by ripple effect

A DEEP-sea rescue was delayed more than an hour because a skipper carelessly operated his boat in Snapper Creek, causing $2000 worth of damage to Tin Can Bay Coast Guard's primary vessel.

A powerboat travelling above the six-knot speed limit past Coast Guard base at Norman Point created a bow wash just as Cooloola Rescue was being lowered into the water to assist a vessel in distress off Double Island Point.

The wave pushed the rescue boat back into the hydraulic lift and jammed it between the air tanks. It took Coast Guard one-an-a-half hours to free the boat before the crew could head off to the "urgent assist" out in the open sea.

The offending boatie's disregard for the speed limit also damaged the hydro lift to the tune of $2000 in repairs - money raised through continual fundraising by Coast Guard volunteers and donations from the public.

"Anyone with a boat licence should know, but the general public also needs to be aware there is a six-knot speed limit and a no-wash rule in Snapper Creek," Tin Can Bay Coast Guard commander Harley Moss said.

"Vessels exceeding that speed, or making wash, risk receiving fines or loss of licence. Any damage to vessels or shore installations as a result of speeding or excessive wash, constitute a marine incident."

Cmdr Moss said the offending boatie got away, as crew members were too busy dealing with the wash's impact on Cooloola Rescue and the hydraulic lift to record the boat's registration number.

"It could have had very serious repercussions; a 35-foot powerboat lost its steering after engine failure and was drifting towards Wolf Rock."

While Coast Guard crew members were working on freeing Cooloola Rescue, radio controllers talked the stranded skipper through manoeuvring his boat to safety by streaming a drogue. The operation itself took six hours.

Maritime Safety warns washes can be created even at low speeds and speed restrictions applied throughout Queensland whether signs were present or not.

A speed limit of six knots exists within 30m of boats anchored, moored to the shore or to a jetty, wharf, pontoon or boat ramp, within 30m of people in the water and 60m of people in the water when operating a personal watercraft in harbours and marinas.

Gympie Times


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