Hobart Mercury - 10 January 2014 - Marine Volunteers Kept Busy

 

Wild winds and rough seas around Tasmania in recent weeks resulted in several maritime dramas, with a small band of hard-working, volunteer radio operators in Hobart playing a key role in rescue operations.

Coast Radio Hobart operated throughout the Christmas and new year period and reported the busiest season to date.

CRH manager Barry McCann said the weather was the main reason for the emergencies.

"But we had incidents requiring assistance in several areas," Mr McCann said.

He praised the efforts of the volunteers who gave their time during the holiday period and manned the Queens Domain operations centre near Hobart.

CRH works in close co-operation with Tasmania Police's marine division and other rescue services.

Mr McCann said some of the incidents that CRH was involved with during the holiday period included:

  • The rescue of three people in a speedboat on North West Bay;
  • The rescue of two people in a dinghy off Eddystone Point;
  • The rescue of a man in a dinghy on the River Derwent near the Botanical Gardens;
  • The rescue of a man whose boat sank near Triabunna;
  • Help after a boat broke down on North West Bay;
  • A medical evacuation on Wedge Bay;
  • The rescue of three fishermen near Maatsuyker Island; and
  • The rescue of four people from a sinking yacht near St Helens.

CRH's busy festive season operations highlight the invaluable services and assistance its team of volunteer operators provide.

A marine radio service of some sort has operated from the Domain site since 1912 but it has been operated by CRH since 2004.

It is a volunteer organisation that was established by Barry McCann and the late Les Colliss in 1976.

CRH provides a marine safety service, including weather broadcasts and the monitoring of short and long range distress and calling channels.

It has expanded and upgraded its equipment over the years and its membership has grown from 14 boats in earlier days to more than 1200.

CRH is the only station in Tasmania that provides this service and it covers the whole of the state from south of the Victorian, South Australian and NSW borders to 300 nautical miles south of Tasmania.

Broadcasts from the Domain site are transmitted to remote stations throughout Tasmania including those located at Mt Nelson and on Bruny, Maria, Flinders and Maatsuyker Islands.

If the past few weeks are any indication, the organisation has remained true to its original ethos of nearly 40 years ago: "to enhance the safety of life and property at sea."

Phone 6231 2276 or 0417 581 789 for more information about CRH or to inquire about becoming a volunteer.