A long awaited second boat for Volunteer Marine Rescue Whitsunday was christened on Saturday in readiness for its new role with the organisation.
Whale Song VRM2 has joined the local VMR for use on marine rescues for smaller boats or ones closer to Airlie Beach
The Naiad 6.7m boat, powered by twin Yamaha 130 horsepower outboards, was officially christened by VMR Whitsunday committee member Marlene Manto in a ceremony.
VMR Whitsunday president Mal Priday was pleased the boat would soon be put to work, to complement the organisation’s larger boat.
The new boat, which was purchased for a little more than $200,000, would give the VMR more options when rescue calls came in.
It would be especially used to attend to call-outs to smaller boats and ones closer to the mainland, Mr Priday said.
Of the 102 activations by the local VMR this year, 75 per cent were for boats under eight metres.
“(It will be used) instead of sending the big boat to rescue, five, six or seven metre tinnies,” Mr Priday said.
“The new boat will be able to do many of those more routine activations for smaller vessels closer to home, freeing the larger Coral Sea Marina VMR1 (main boat) for activations for medivacs, searches, assisting larger vessels and those further afield.
“The new boat will also allow us to extend the life of VMR1, reduce overall operational costs and provide an additional resource for search and rescue and training activities.”
Mr Priday estimated the new boat would be able to have done a quarter to half of all of this year’s activations.
Whale Song VMR2 is also faster on the water than the VMR’s main boat.
And, unlike the bigger vessel, it is able to do medivacs off the beach.
With the main boat to continue to do medivacs in the region, the new boat will be able to be used to collect patients from beaches and transfer them to the main boat later, Mr Priday said.
“It’s a second arrow to our bow,” he said.
The new boat was named Whale Song by major sponsor, small vessel management company Emerald Sea Surveys.
It is named after their whale research vessel Whale Song.
The new VMR boat is expected to be operational in a week to 10 days’ time.
Additional fundraising is still being done to equip it with a radar and automatic identification system, as well as to buy a trailer and install a dry dock for it to be kept in.
While finally being able to announce the arrival of the new boat, Mr Priday thanked everyone who had donated money for it.
“We’re extremely grateful for the support from sponsors and the community in the Whitsundays,” he said.
Source: Whitsunday Times.