1. Coral Sea Marina VMR 1 Rescue Vessel

In July 2017 the Volunteer Marine Rescue took delivery of a fully equipped purpose built Rescue Vessel, specifically suited to our area of responsibility, which covers a 13,000sq km area of ocean/coastline known for its coral reefs, fast flowing currents and notorious wind-over-tide sea conditions. In addition, being the busiest private and commercial boating community in Australia, the volume of vessels on the water at any given time in the Whitsunday region creates a high demand for the services of VMR. The new vessel will allow VMR Whitsundays to assist other VMR’s in the area when their vessels are not available.

The vessel itself is a 12m NoosaCat with twin Cummins diesel engines specifically designed and purpose built as an offshore rescue vessel with a fly bridge, an absolute must for visibility around the fringing reefs of the Whitsundays and for search and rescue operations in adverse conditions. the larger fuel capacity will allow for 300nm which is beyond VMR Whitsundays operational area, but allows a considerable safety margin for long tows. (See SPECIFICATIONS)

Coral Sea Marina|Resort and VMR Whitsunday have agreed to a three year Platinum sponsorship. Coral Sea Marina Resort have secured naming rights on the vessel, Coral Sea Marina VMR1.

Berthing is in a privileged position near the fuel dock, is convenient to crews and emergency services, providing a speedy departure. The sponsorship also includes a cash component, which will greatly assist to cover operating costs and unforeseen circumstances. We wish to thank our Patron, Paul Darrouzet, of Coral Sea Marina Resort for his generosity and support.

2. Whale Song VMR 2 Rescue Vessel

VMR2

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In October 2019 VMR Whitsunday took delivery of its second purpose built Rescue Vessel, specifically suited to shallow areas. Following the delivery of VMR1 in 2017 activations were increasing, (somewhat contributed by its Medivac capabilities) and a Sub-Committee comprising senior skippers was formed, to analyse the trends and investigate whether a second vessel should be considered.  The outcome was that 70% of activations over the 5 preceding years could have been handled with a smaller vessel, within a limited range.  A General Meeting of Members approved the acquisition, resulting in the delivery of a Naiad 6.7 metre RHIB built by Yamba Welding and Engineering, a specialist emergency vessel builder.

Whilst specifically capable of shallow areas, VMR2 is used to assist vessels under 8 metres.  We are confident that this will relieve the workload of VMR1 and extend its operational life.  With its twin F130 Yamaha outboard motors its running costs are even lower than the economical Cummins Diesels in VMR1.  It is also simpler to operate and is surveyed for a crew as low as 2 persons, enabling fast deployment and travelling up to a maximum of 30 knots, is an ideal emergency response vessel.

Recognising its lesser range, VMR2 works within the Whitsunday Partially Smooth Waters zone, our major assistance area.  This area can become quite rough, particularly in Whitsunday Passage and in times of inclement weather or rough wind over tide conditions, can rely on the larger VMR1.  In good weather conditions, VMR2’s survey allows it to travel beyond the shipping lanes to the near reef areas, but fuel management is important.

VMR1 is specifically designed for Medivacs and will continue to handle most, although VMR2 may be called upon to assist with Medivacs requiring beach access.  Until the arrival of VMR2, VMR Whitsunday has been restricted in participation of Emergency Search and Rescues, SAREX exercises, assisting other nearby VMR squadrons or attending public events.  We could not take the risk of removing our only rescue vessel and leaving no rescue vessels in the Whitsunday area.  With the arrival of VMR2, we intend buying a suitable trailer, as and when funds become available, which will allow our wider participation.

The vessel itself is a 6.7m Naiad RHIB with twin F130 Yamaha outboard engines specifically designed and purpose built as a rescue vessel, with foam filled airbags.  It has identical Furuno plotters, GPS, sonar, radar and AIS (Automatic Identification System) which are the same as VMR1, to enable interchangeable crewing. See SPECIFICATIONS

EMERALD SEA SURVEYS and VMR Whitsunday have agreed to a two year Gold sponsorship which includes naming rights on the vessel, Whale Song VMR2. We thank prominent whale researchers Curt and Micheline Jenner for their generosity, in support of our Whitsunday Marine Safety Net

Whale Song VMR2 is named after Emerald Sea Surveys’ whale research vessel R.V.Whale Song and further details can be seen at http://www.cwr.org.au/ and http://www.cwr.org.au/about-us/2-4-r-v-whale-song.html