stardust setting tow 221113QF11 Yeppoon has rescued two boats in unusual circumstances. The first was the uninsured ferro-cement yacht Stardust which was washed onto rocks at the northern end of Wreck Beach, Great Keppel Island. A local resident, Lyndie Malan, alerted Yeppoon Coast Guard to the situation.

The sole occupant of the yacht had been in the vicinity of Great Keppel Island for some months. He had not advised the Coast Guard about his movements or the emergency situation but posted details of the incident on Facebook. As the tide was falling in the morning, Yeppoon Coast Guard skipper Chris Penglase and crew waited until high tide in the afternoon before using Gormans Removals Rescue to tow the yacht off the rocks in an operation co-ordinated by GKI resident, Carl Svendsen. The second incident while a Yeppoon crew was assisting a yacht which had engine trouble in Island Head Creek and could not reach open water.

Kingsley Bartle and crew departed Rosslyn Bay at 8.40 am for the 55 nm trip north to Island Head Creek. At about 12 noon, while Gormans Removals Rescue had the yacht in tow, QF24 Thirsty Sound Coast Guard advised by radio that an apparently unmanned flybridge cruiser had been reported, by a passing boat, to be drifting north of Townshend Island.

No emergency call had been received from the drifting vessel and no vessel had been reported missing. After releasing the towed yacht offshore, Gormans Removals Rescue proceeded 12 nm further north to search for the drifting vessel.

A second report about the drifting cruiser gave a precise location and the information that it had 2 POB and was disabled by fuel problems. Gormans Removals Rescue reached the stricken boat, Rambling Rose, at 1.15pm and towed it back to shelter at Island Head Creek to await a tow on Friday by Thirsty Sound Coast Guard to Stanage Bay.

After releasing the second tow, Gormans Removals Rescue headed back to Rosslyn Bay, arriving at 6.20pm after an operation lasting 9 hours 40 minutes.

The disabled yacht sailed back to Rosslyn Bay via North Keppel Island and was assisted into Rosslyn Bay Harbour around midday on Friday. The flybridge cruiser was successfully towed to Stanage Bay by Thirsty Sound Coast Guard.

These two incidents highlight the need for boat skippers to be ready to use VHF radio to call for assistance, to know the correct radio channels to be used and to seek assistance as early as possible so that crews can be called out in time and rescue vessels can be directed efficiently to the scene. They also highlight the importance of the information and assistance which was provided by other members of the boating community.