Boaters are oh so familiar with the embarrassment of a mishap on the boat ramp when launching and retrieving. Chances are there will be amused onlookers enjoying your situation. I have discovered a number of excellent YouTube videos that will give skippers a few tips on launching, docking and retrieving from and to your drive off/drive on trailer. All of us have invested a significant amount in our pride and joy. So, it is imperative one upskills and practices the art of boat ramp manoeuvres. Don’t forget the helper is an invaluable assistant in successful launching and retrieving.
There are so many variables to consider; to name a few – wind, tide, ramp gradient, depth of water, other vessels.
Alistair McGlashan provides an excellent demonstration of how to Launch from a drive off trailer.
Pulling alongside a jetty, pontoon or wharf can also be challenging. Again Alistair McGlashan has put together this video: Docking alongside
To complete your day you now have to retrieve your vessel. May I suggest you watch Alistair McGlashan’s demonstration of the techniques you may employ. Retrieving
Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) have embarked on a terrific programme to encourage fishers and boaters to update their Personal Flotation Devices (PFD).
Check the Australian Standard (AS) number on your PFD
1 January 2021 is the date that all life jackets in use in Tasmania will need to adhere to the new standard AS 4758.
To make the transition easier for the public, MAST will provide $20.00 vouchers for all old jackets (PFD 1, 2 and 3).
Life jacket voucher
How will the voucher system work? Simply follow these steps:
- Attend one of the locations when advertised on the MAST Facebook page, website or in the public notices of the three major newspapers
- Take your old PFD1, 2 or 3 along with you;
- Receive a voucher issued by MAST and have your old jacket marked;
- Take your old jacket to a Boat Safe or Paddle Safe partner as listed on the back of the voucher, purchase your new jacket and leave the old jacket there.
We will issue up to four vouchers per person, but you will need a jacket for each voucher. Only one voucher can be used per new jacket. For a family of five, it signifies a $100 discount on five jackets. Vouchers are not redeemable for cash and expire on 31 December 2020.
A Boatwise Education Evening will be held this Wednesday at the St Helens Marine Rescue’s Base.
Boatwise Evening at 6:00 pm, Wednesday 21st March.
The summer has thrown up many a curve ball with a search, towing across the bar and most recently a Mayday in the North East.
27th of December:
Georges Bay’s search track.
“Today four members of St Helens Marine Rescue were called upon to investigate an upturned dinghy on Georges Bay. Under the auspices of the St Helens Police the vessel was towed ashore. A search and rescue then ensued as the occupants whereabouts was unknown. Half a dozen vessels, persons on shore and a rescue helicopter were also engaged in the search. Some four hours later it was established those on board had swum ashore and were uninjured. An enormous amount of time and effort was put into this operation with a positive outcome. However, the take out from this is when an incident occurs on the water it is the responsibility of the skipper to inform authorities as soon as practicable. That way emergency services can act in a timely, appropriate manner.”
Runabout at O’Connor Beach Stieglitz
29th of December
Pukana being towed through the entrance of Georges Bay.
After a major breakdown with the propulsion aboard yacht Pukana, St Helens Marine Rescue towed the vessel and crew to anchor. Pukanna was a competitor in the Launceston to Hobart Yacht Race. The initial tow took place from the Middle Ground off St Helens Island to anchor in Bernes Bay. It was too dangerous to attempt a crossing of the barway at that time as a large confused swell during an outgoing tide made conditions perilous.
Later during the day a tow and crossing of the bar took place at the top of the tide. The journey was a routine tow through the Bay by highly qualified members (Rodney, JD and John) of St Helens Marine Rescue. Once close to the St Helens harbour Pukana was rafted to the rescue vessel “Georges Bay” to a successful tie up at the marina.
9th of January
Track to Binalong Bay where the survivors were transferred from Mure’s fishing vessel Diana
“Mayday call at 1400 hours today. St Helens Marine Rescue received a Mayday call through radio operator Tony. The situation realised a vessel with 3 persons on board was taking on water and was in need of urgent assistance. Tony put out a call to all vessels North East of Binalong Bay. Mures fishing vessel Dianna responded immediately with an offer of assistance. Police were informed of the emergency. It was determined the stricken vessel was 13 nautical miles North East of the St Helens Bar. Diana found the sinking vessel and remained alongside until the vessel finally succumbed and sank. Diana and its crew quickly rescued the men and ensured their health and well being. In the meantime rescue vessel Georges Bay was dispatched, with skipper Rodney and crewmen Ken and John, to meet with Diane in Binalong Bay. From there the survivors were returned unharmed back to St Helens. Throughout the ordeal Tony maintained communications between the rescuing vessel Diana, the Police and our rescue vessel Georges Bay. The excellence of Dianna’s response under the command of Skipper Russell and radio operator Tony maintained an outstanding survival outcome.”
Mure’s Diana rescued three men 13 nautical miles NE of Binalong Bay
Despite all the safety equipment aboard the stricken vessel it sank within seconds after finally taking on water over the stern. The excellence of this survival outcome are attributed to:
1. The new radio equipment at St Helens Marine Rescue which picked up the Mayday through the radio operator Tony;
2. The outstanding response by the skipper Russell and crew aboard Diana;
3. The transfer of the survivors from Diana to rescue vessel Georges Bay then back to St Helens;
4. The constant radio and phone communication between the radio room at the Base, the stricken vessel, Diana and the Tasmania Police.
Mariners are reminded of the absolute imperative to follow the weather and the impending forecast prior to and during any voyage to sea. This week Marine Rescue highlights an example of this. For the past three days an intensive low pressure system has been tracking towards Tasmania. Yesterday (Saturday 2nd of December 2017) is a prime example. Below is the AIS track of a vessel just outside the St Helens Barway. If you examine the image closely you will notice the southern track headed towards the bar, then the subsequent traversing outside the breaking water and the final decision to move North (click to enlarge).
Yacht track at 0600 hours outside St Helens Barway.
A phone call was received at around 0530 hours requesting assistance to cross the Bar. Subsequently Volunteer Marine Rescue Members travelled to Burns Bay to observe the conditions of the Bar. It was determined that under no circumstances should a vessel attempt to cross given the prevailing waves, the swell, the tide and the wind direction. Advice was rendered for the vessel to seek sheltered waters to the North in Binalong Bay or Skeleton Bay. The skipper then decided to leave and head north.
An example of weather forecasting and the conditions at the time were taken from Willy Weather (click to enlarge). It contains a longitudinal forecast as well as real time wind speed. Other variables available include tide times, swell, temperature and general forecast. This can be an additional tool when looking at weather.
Willy weather graphic of the prevailing weather conditions.
St Helens Marine Rescue urges all mariners going to sea to constantly monitor weather and future forecasts.
For current weather conditions BOM has an incredible site called MetEye. This can be found at http://www.bom.gov.au/australia/meteye/?ref=ftr
To all mariners St Helens Marine Rescue urges you to, “Enjoy your time on the water and stay safe.”
Today we passed over the keys to the new owner of Freycinet. This was tinged with a sense of sadness as this beautiful vessel has been such a stoic member of St Helens Marine Rescue.
The reality is however the new NSCV regulations quite simply impose extremely stringent rules around what craft can and cannot operate as a rescue vessel.
To capture a little of the past, below is the announcement of Freycinet’s arrival from September 2009
David Llewellyn, Member for Lyons, today presented the St Helens Marine Rescue Association of Tasmania with the recently decommissioned Police Vessel, Freycinet.
“Although the Freycinet is 29 years old, it has been meticulously maintained and will greatly enhance the St Helens Marine Rescue Association’s capabilities and ongoing operations,” Mr Llewellyn said.
“The Freycinet will expand the rescue capabilities of the group with its range of 500 nautical miles, radar and an array of navigational equipment.
“I am pleased that this hard-working group of volunteers is able to take on such a reliable and sturdy vessel. It should provide years of service.
“The St Helens Marine Rescue Association is to be congratulated for its dedication to the safety and security of the maritime community.”
Freycinet will remain on the waters of Georges Bay as the new owner is a local. We wish him well in his new venture aboard a beautiful water craft.