With the holiday period over, it is worth reflecting on the activities of our local Marine Rescue Groups. The Margaret River group, over a six week period, attended approximately 10 callouts ranging from jet ski rescues, searching for a diver reported missing at sea, EPIRB activations and even assisting with logistics during the Leeuwin Naturaliste Park wild fire. On January 26, their dedicated rescue vessel, RV Brems, completed a training run from Gracetown to Gnarabup, culminating in Bill Ivory providing an out of date flare disposal service, which saw more than 40 flares dropped off. This dedicated rescue vessel, a 7.5m rigid inflatable NAIAD, underwent a 10 year major refit before the summer season, including new outboards, electronics and seating. Two Yamaha waverunner PWCs also form an essential part of this groups assets and have become integral for the many inshore rescues that are common in the Capes region. Check out Marine Rescue Margaret River on facebook for more information and photos of the members in action.
Augusta Marine Rescue have a 10 metre NAIAD and 2 PWCs also, so the community is well serviced in the event of any incidents. The big news for Augusta VMR is the new building to be constructed in the Augusta Boat Harbour. This multi purpose facility, including a function room, radio room and vessel/vehicle storage can also serve as an bushfire evacuation centre and command centre for major incidents. Fantastic news with the project due for completion mid 2024. This group has also recently trained up members to assist with bush fires by providing aerial suppression water refills at Augusta airport.
Both the groups are always keen to accept new members to improve their capability. With in-house group training and DFES certified training provided and access to quality vessels with state of the art electronics, it is the perfect way to improve your own boating skills, meet like-minded people and contribute to your local community. For those not vessel oriented, there are always others tasks behind the scenes that are critical to keeping these groups functioning. Anyone interested should contact either the Margaret River commander, Lucie on 0491969672 or Augusta commander Dennis on 0427581500 On a different note, the Department of Transport recently advised me that there has been a huge increase in speeding offences throughout the southwest and that locals are equally as represented as tourists. Areas like the Blackwood River, Geographe Bay and Bunbury inshore areas have become hotspots for small vessels and PWCs not adhering to 8 knot speed limits. Also, PWCs freestyling in 8 knots zones or designated water ski areas is becoming an issue, with many fines issued over the holiday period. Next month I will be providing statistics on these infringements. The huge surge in boat sales and useage over the last two years has added pressure to our waterways, so all boaties are urged to please follow the speed restrictions, be aware of other water based users and quite simply, just be courteous while driving your vessels.