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Autumn 2016 | QF4 Caloundra Edition

This issue ...

QF4 News | Flags around the Sunshine Coast
HMS Protector | Trailer Maintenance | The Plasticene
Voyage to Antarctica | History of Ships: HMAS Maryborough
Coast Guard Assist Stories
Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

www.solas.com.au

The Official Magazine of AVCGA Sunshine Coast Squadron

AUTUMN 2016

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ISSUE 13

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QF4 Caloundra Edition

CONTENTS
04 EDITOR’S CORNER
05 FLOTILLA NEWS
Latest news from QF4
06 FLAGS AROUND THE SUNSHINE COAST
The most commonly used flags on
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06

Sunshine Coast boats

08 TRANSFER AT SEA
A Medivac from a bulk carrier off
Mooloolaba

09 DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU
The tale of finding a sunken boat
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10 HMS PROTECTOR: A TELEGRAPHIST’S TALE

Life as a telegraphist on the Royal Navy’s

Antarctic patrol ship.

13 IF IT CAN GO WRONG ...
When a boat has a crew member called

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16

“Murphy”

14 TRAILER MAINTENANCE
16 MAYDAY OFF MOOLOOLABA

Assisting a capsized trimaran
18 THE PLASTICENE

Litter in the world’s oceans
22 VOYAGE TO ANTARCTICA

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24 MIDNIGHT RESCUE

Capsize on the Wide Bay Bar

26 HISTORY OF SHIPS: HMAS MARYBOROUGH
29 SURVIVAL IN THE SEA
30 SQUADRON CONTACTS
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Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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PUBLISHING INFORMATION
Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast is
published quarterly by AVCGA Sunshine
Coast Squadron.
Copies are available from QF4
Caloundra, QF6 Mooloolaba, QF5 Noosa,
QF17 Tin Can Bay and QF21 Sandy Straits.
Please contact the Flotilla.
Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast
is available via email. To join the
emailing list, please contact the flotilla
representative for your area.
Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast
is also available via download. Visit the
flotilla’s page on the Coast Guard website
at www.coastguard.com.au.
For advertising enquiries, please contact
the flotilla representative for your area
EDITOR: Vice Captain Julie Hartwig
Ph: 07 5486 4014
M: 0498 377 402
E: editor.sc@coastguard.com.au
Sub-Editors:
QF4 Caloundra: John Gasparotto
E: john.gasparotto@coastguard.com.au
QF5 Noosa: David Garwood
E: dgandtd@bigpond.com
QF6 Mooloolaba: Ian Hunt
E: ian.hunt@coastguard.com.au
QF17 Tin Can Bay: Julie Hartwig
E: julie.hartwig@coastguard.com.au
QF21 Sandy Strait: Jon Colless
E: jon.colless@coastguard.com.au
Disclaimer: Whilst every care is taken
by the Editor to minimise errors, no
responsibility is accepted for the accuracy
or otherwise of contributions made by
AVCGA members, and the information,
images, illustrations and advertisements
contained herein. Opinions expressed in
articles in this publication are those of the
authors. All content in this publication is
published with the consent and approval
of the Sunshine Coast Squadron Board.
© Copyright AVCGA Sunshine Coast
Squadron, 2016
Visit Coast Guard on the web:
www.coastguard.com.au

W

Editor’s Corner

elcome to the Autumn edition of Coast Guard Rescue
Sunshine Coast. If you think this issue has come around
rather quickly, it has. The reason is as Commander Ian
Hunt explains on the next page, but I’ve taken the opportunity
to realign the publishing date with the beginning of the season,
rather than the middle. So from this issue onwards, Coast Guard
Rescue Sunshine Coast will be available around the end of March,
June, September and December. Look out for it at your local
Coast Guard flotilla or download it from the national Coast Guard
website at www.coastguard.com.au - simply select Queensland
from the flotilla locator map, then select your local flotilla from the
list.
The two months since the last issue have seen a few dramatic
rescues by Sunshine Coast flotillas - you can read all about them
inside this issue.
While many of Coast Guard’s calls for assistance are requests
for towing a broken down vessel, every call is potentially an
emergency call. However, every now and then, an emergency
activation occurs in which the lives of a vessel’s crew are in grave
and imminent life-threatening danger. Being called to rescue
people from situations where their vessel is no longer capable of
providing them with survival is what our Coast Guard volunteers
put in the hard training yards for.
In the lead up to publishing this issue, two letters came
across my desk. One was from a couple of yachtsmen rescued
from the hull of their catamaran which capsized on the Wide Bay
Bar in the dead of a filthy night; the other was from a regular
reader of the magazine who wrote to tell me how much he enjoys
the publication. Reading these letters reinforces the value of our
service to the boating public and the importance of the work our
volunteers do, both on and off the water, to ensure we continue to
provide marine rescue capabilities to local boaties.
To all the AVCGA volunteers in the Sunshine Coast’s five
flotillas, keep up the great work. Your local communities truly do
appreciate your contribution to keep our waterways safe.
Enjoy the read, stay safe on the water and remember to log
on before you leave!
Safety by all Means.

Julie Hartwig

Editor
Vice Captain Publications, Sunshine Coast Squadron

THIS ISSUE’S COVER:
Caloundra’s Coast Guard 2 about to cross the Caloundra Bar with her new engines. Photo John Gasparotto
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Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

T

Commander’s Dispatches

he year has begun well for QF4 and its
members. Both vessels are performing
well with cyclical servicing and equipment
replacement complete. The search for suitable
flood/spotlights has been successful with recent
fine-tuning completed to Coxswains’ satisfaction.
Night training exercises with both vessels have
commenced.
February and March Flotilla Meetings saw
the Flotilla gain fifteen new Provisional members.
While most have joined as Boat Crew, the
Radio and Fundraising sections also enjoy new
membership. ESS training was attended by ten
new members – a record!
Negotiations with a prospective supplier
of a replacement radio tower and associated

equipment is nearing conclusion with a decision
imminent. While the likely price for the work is
well below the original quote, the work will cost
the Flotilla over $35,000. The relocation of the
radio room is well advanced and on completion,
will offer much improved safety and security to
members, to Flotilla assets and to visitors.
There was no break from fundraising over
the Christmas period. The Flotilla now provides a
weekly sausage sizzle at Bunnings (Thursday) and
continues to work at the Power Boat Club, Pelican
Waters and Dan Murphy’s. QF4 members greatly
appreciate the support of members of the public
in buying tickets, and a hot sausage on bread!
Tony Barker
Commander, QF4

A Message to Our Readers ...
Please Support our Advertisers

The Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association is a volunteer marine rescue organisation
committed to saving lives at sea. AVCGA flotillas in the Sunshine Coast region receive
minimal government funding and must engage in constant fundraising activities to
keep our rescue vessels on the water, train our volunteer personnel and operate our
rescue bases. The support of local and regional businesses is an essential part of our
fundraising activities. When you shop at any of our advertisers, please tell them you saw
their advertisement in Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast. Please support our advertisers
because their support ensures the continuation of AVCGA’s rescue services to boating
communities on the Sunshine Coast.

www.facebook.com/qf4.th
Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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Signal Flags Around
the Sunshine Coast
by Roger Barnes
Skipper, QF4
The International Code of Signals (ICS) is an international system of signals and codes for use by
vessels to communicate important messages regarding safety of navigation and related matters.
Signals can be sent by flag hoist, signal lamp (“blinker”), flag semaphore, radiotelegraphy, and
radiotelephony. The International Code is the most recent evolution of a wide variety of maritime
flag signalling systems.

A: Diver Below - Keep Clear!

Several years ago while diving off the beach at the Mooloolaba Spit, one PWC
driver decided that the ‘A’ flag would make a good mark to practice his turns
around. As a keen Scuba diver, it amazes me that boats will regularly drive at
speed over the top of me when I am diving – even when I am displaying the ‘A’
or ‘Diver Below’ flag. These actions indicate an ignorance and/or a disregard
for the rules and other water users. This flag would have to be one of the most
commonly seen flags displayed by small vessels on the Sunshine Coast.
While most of the countries in the world use the ‘A’ flag to indicate divers, the
North Americans and some other parts of the world use a totally different flag
which is red with a diagonal white stripe.

O: Man Overboard!

While we don’t see ships fly this flag on the Sunshine Coast very much, it is
used extensively by the Life Savers. So while the swimmers who ‘swim between
the flags’ have not technically fallen overboard, the flag does signify to other
watercraft users that there are swimmers in the water. So when you see this
flag at a beach, keep clear. If you see a ship flying this flag, then you should
probably ask if you can help with the search for the person overboard.

B: Bang!

The ‘B’ flag is
probably the easiest
to remember as the
bright red colour
indicates danger, and
is also the colour of an
explosion. It is used by
ships when handling
dangerous goods, this
includes when they are
refuelling.
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Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

H: Pilot on Board

You will see this flag being flown on just about every large ship that travels
between Mooloolaba and Brisbane. When a ship enters a pilotage area, it is
required to take on board a local expert to help guide the vessel through the
narrow channels. This expert is referred to as a pilot. You may see the pilot
boats ferry the pilot between Mooloolaba harbour and a ship off shore from
time to time.

D: Difficulty

Here at QF4, this flag is commonly referred to as the ‘towing flag.’ The official
meaning though is: ‘Keep clear of me; I am manoeuvring with difficulty.’ Most
boaties around the Sunny Coast would probably just recognise it as a colourful
flag that makes the boat look good. And as any self-respecting boatie knows,
looking cool is the most important rule of boating.

P: Blue Peter

So far, all of the flags I have talked about mean ‘Keep Clear’ and if there is a
flag that you don’t know the meaning of, keeping clear is probably a good
guideline to follow. The Blue Peter definitely follows that guideline unless
you are a starter in a yacht race. The Blue Peter is now most commonly used
as a starter’s (preparatory) flag in Australian waters. The official meaning for
the Blue Peter depends on whether it is displayed in harbour or out at sea. In
harbour, it is used to indicate that crew should report to the ship ready for sea.
When displayed at sea by fishing vessels, it indicates that the nets are stuck on
an obstruction.

N over C: Help!

The N flag stands for ‘No’ and the C flag stands for ‘Yes’. When they are both
displayed together it doesn’t
mean someone on board
can’t make up their mind. It
is one of the many ways to
indicate that you need help.

W: Medical Help

This flag is used to
indicate that you need
medical assistance.
I would prefer to
think that the W flag
means that you want
whisky. Come to think
of it, some people
consider the use of
whisky a form of selfmedication.
Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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Transfer at Sea
by Rod Ashlin
Skipper, Gold Sunday Crew, QF6

A

round 2230 on the night of March 5th,
our radio room received a request for
assistance to evacuate a seriously ill
crewman from a ship at sea. The vessel was the
bulk tanker Phoenix Light of over 100,000 tonnes
and 800 ft in length.
Apparently, the Skipper had requested a
helicopter evacuation, but this had been rejected
by authorities as too risky in the night time
conditions.
A crew was called in and contact made
with the ship’s captain to ascertain how we could
safely transfer the patient. This was a Panamanian
registered ship with a Russian captain and a
Philipino crew, so the biggest hurdle was the
language barrier. Whilst the captain assured
us he could speak English he seemed to have
considerable trouble understanding our requests
for what facilities he had for evacuating the
crewman. Eventually, it was agreed that they
would lower the patient down to our deck in a
large basket from a crane on the vessel.
We left our dock at 2300 with two
paramedics aboard from the Queensland
Ambulance Service. The ship was 14 nautical
miles offshore South East of Mooloolaba and we

Above: Phoenix Light.

asked the captain to continue inshore to meet us.
A substantial two to three metre swell with a 15knot ESE breeze, made conditions less than ideal.
We met around five nautical miles East of
Point Cartwright and asked the captain to hold a
NE course at four knots to provide a lee for us to
come along his port side to attempt the transfer.
Two crewmen came down with the patient in the
basket and we were able to complete make the
transfer without any major problems.
The paramedics asked us to stay in the lee
of the ship while they thoroughly assessed the
patient. When that was complete, we wished the
captain “Bon Voyage”, as given the language
problems we had encountered, we thought that
this was universal message for proceed on your
way.
The trip back to harbour was kept
as smooth as possible and the patient was
transferred to the waiting ambulance.
I would like to report on the medical
outcome for the patient, but evidently in these
times of political correctness this is information
that cannot be provided, so I hope he is
recovering OK with, I am sure, our best medical
care.
All’s well that ends well.

Left: Patient transfer by basket and ship’s crane.
Below: Paramedics assess the patient on Rhondda Rescue.

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Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

Don’t Let This Happen to You!
by Charlie Thurgood
Restricted Coxswain, QF6
A timely reminder ... don’t be complacent as
the following could happen to anybody, at any
time and anywhere.

D

uring a recent holiday in New Zealand,
my son and I went on an early (0500 hrs)
morning fishing trip and came upon this.

We contacted the Coast Guard who advised
that the occupant had been taken off earlier in
the morning. The following details have been
kindly supplied by the Bay of Islands branch of
the NZ Coast Guard.
In this incident, a “boatie” went fishing on
a dark night in his 4.7 m. runabout in the Bay of
Islands (which covers a very wide area of Islands
and open water) in the North Island of New
Zealand“.
He didn’t log on with Coast Guard and
only gave his wife general details of his intended
fishing spot.

He didn’t have a RADIO, FLARES or EPIRB
and perhaps his boat was a bit “dodgy”.
His saviour was that he had a mobile
phone, life jacket, a very smart wife and a
responsive nearby Coast Guard base.
Sometime before midnight, the fisherman’s
wife received an urgent call from him to say he
was up to his knees in water and not expecting to
remain afloat much longer.
Thinking quickly his wife used the “Find my
phone app” on her mobile phone to ascertain his
general location before his phone submerged.
She relayed this information to the Police
who immediately issued a callout to the Coast
Guard.
On receipt of the callout at 2341, the Coast
Guard launched their rescue vessel with 4 crew
by 2342.
An “all stations message” followed by
PAN PAN was broadcast on local VHF and VH16
channels.
The CG vessel and private vessels began
searching in the general search area at 0042 hrs.
By 0115 hrs, following further analysis of
the “lost phone” data and local knowledge, CG
Operations provided a “best guess” location,
which moved the search to a new area.
At 0124 the CG vessel crew heard yelling
and 2 minutes later, they retrieved a very wet,
cold, shaken but very relieved fisherman from the
water only 200m from “best guess” location.
Don’t let this happen to you! Tell someone
where you are going, make sure you have all
the required safety equipment in serviceable
condition, and log on before you leave.

Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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HMS Protector:
A Telegraphist’s Tale
by David Garwood
Editor, QF5

I

n 1954, National Service was still compulsory in
the UK and I was determined to join the Royal
Navy. I was just 18 years old and it was difficult
to get into the Navy just for National Service,
so I joined the RNVWR (Royal Navy Volunteer
Wireless Reserve). I was still at school, but none
the less managed to attend training programmes
in the evenings until I qualified as a Telegraphist
(Sparker). I was then accepted into the Royal
Navy.
I joined HMS Victory in ‘Pompey’
(Portsmouth) and learnt to paint parade ground
stones white! I volunteered to compete against
the Royal Marines at foil fencing which I had
been involved in at school - never volunteer!!! I
was given a .303 rifle with a boxing glove over
the barrel end and was confronted by a strapping
2-metre tall marine sergeant … I was soundly
defeated!
I was posted to HMS Mercury, the
signals school on the Portsdown Hills north of
Portsmouth. I played cricket for HMS Mercury
at Hambledon, the home of cricket in England.
There was a great pub nearby, ‘The East Meon
Hut’. Many a pint of ‘Scrumpy’(rough, strong
cider at 20 cents a pint) was downed there in
convivial company.

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These were the days of Morse code and
our schedule involved intensive training. The old
phonetic alphabet was still in use ... Able, Baker,
Charlie, Dog, Easy, Fox, George, How, Item Jig,
King, Love, Mike, Nan, Oboe, Peter, Queen, Roger,
Sugar, Tare, Uncle, Victor, William, X-ray, Yoke,
and Zebra. We learnt to type encrypted Morse
code messages and we had to achieve at least 24
words per minute.
There were other challenges, too. I was
invited to participate in an ‘Upper Yardman
Course’ to see if I was officer material. However,
that demanded a longer duration than just
National Service time. I undertook the course, but
opted out because I decided that perhaps the
Royal Navy was not my lifelong career ambition.
Instead, I volunteered for HMS Protector
(A146), a Net Layer, which was commissioned
in 1936. (I was also commissioned in the
same year!). HMS Protector was refitted and
converted into a patrol ship suitable for Antarctic
conditions. The old girl underwent several
changes. She received a new bow with tons of
concrete inserted to enable her to go through
brash ice, and consumed gallons of red lead and
Pusser’s Grey! Additionally, they added a hangar
to house the two Westland Whirlwind helicopters

Above: HMS Protector with one of the ship’s Westland
Whirlwind helicopters at Stanley.

Above: Rommel.

and built a flight deck on her stern.
We set off on the inaugural voyage to the
Antarctic. Just off The Needles, in a millpond
of a sea, the steering engine broke down. This
was not an auspicious start to our voyage and
became a recurring problem in the hostile South
Atlantic Ocean. When we reached Montevideo,
it was discovered that the bulkhead securing the
steering engine had not been repaired after the
Protector had been damaged by an aerial torpedo
in the Mediterranean Sea during World War II.
Needless to say, we managed the occasional
40-degree roll during heavy seas down south and
kept the hatches well battened down!
HMS Protector had a displacement of 3450
tons, length of 105 metres, beam of 15 metres
and a draught of 4.9 metres. She was propelled
by four Admiralty three drum boilers and two
British Thomson-Houston geared turbines. She
achieved 19 knots, but appeared a little red-faced
on those rare occasions. She had a complement
of 21 officers and 238 ratings (including 30 Royal
Marine commandos). Her armaments included
twin 4-inch guns, twin Oerlikons and one
Hotchkiss 3-pounder saluting gun. The original
net decks were converted into fuel tanks enabling
her to cover the long distances associated with
the South Atlantic, Bellingshausen Sea, etc.
Our watch-keeping mess accommodated
18 communicators (signalmen, coders and
telegraphists). Hammocks had to be lashed up
and stowed constantly (the space equated to the
area taken up by QF5’s galley, chartroom and
radio office - approximately 12m x 3m). Five-star
comfort for eight months and it was spotless!
The skipper of HMS Protector was Captain
J. V. Wilkinson. He was a little imperious and
when he discovered that a West African mongrel
had mysteriously stowed away when we were
refuelling in Freetown, Sierra Leone, he ordered

‘Rommel’ to be painlessly destroyed by the
ship’s surgeon. However, below decks, there was
enormous reaction. It was as though a stoker had
been condemned to death! Several stokers (now
called marine engineering mechanics/artificers/
technicians), offered to take ‘Rommel’s’ place
on death row. However, at the eleventh hour,
Captain Wilkinson announced a reprieve and
morale, particularly in the stoker’s mess, soared.
When we reached Port Stanley in the
Falkland Islands, ‘Rommel’ was found a good
home. He went ashore in style in the Captain’s
barge. The veteran Able Seaman who had cared
for him on-board, piped him over the side and
had tears in his eyes. The entire ship’s company
lined the upper deck to say farewell to him. His
new billet was with the local chemist, his wife and
three children.
In the BWO (Bridge Wireless Office) during
the Last Dog Watch (1800-2000) on January 20th,
1956, we picked up a faint signal which turned
out to be the MV Theron which was calling for
help, as it was trapped in ice flows positioned
67 deg. 40 min. south, 30 deg. 30 min. west. We
refuelled and set off from the Bellingshausen
Sea into the Weddell Sea, a venture of some
1600 miles to meet the Theron coming from the
ice after sea lanes had been identified by our
helicopters to the ship.
The Theron came alongside us on January
23rd and Dr. Vivian Fuchs and Sir Edmund Hillary
came on-board to celebrate their rescue. They
then returned to the Theron and proceeded with
their expedition across Antarctica.
My next meeting with Sir Edmund was 28
years later, when he became a regular guest at
the Everest Sheraton in Kathmandu, Nepal, where
I was GM. We drank a Mai Tai or two on several
occasions, reminiscing about the Antarctic.
These were the days of the ‘Cold War,’ so
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our activities and missions proved to be pretty
varied and exciting! We accompanied the Royal
Marine Commandos in Zodiacs to Argentinian
and Chilean base camps and ensured the Union
Jack was flying before returning through pretty
rough and bloody cold seas to HMS Protector.
We also joined the Whale Patter’s Club – giving a
killer whale a pat on the snout as they appeared
through holes in the ice. This exercise we
managed from the Zodiacs, as we visited remote
radio bases in the area.
The Argentinian icebreaker, the General
San Martin, was constantly in our vicinity.
After the various missions, the officers on the
Protector joined their counterparts on the General
San Martin for the odd pink gin. The ratings
tackled the Argentinians at football. On a more
civilian basis, we monitored the activities of the
whale factory ships in the area. This included
Salversen’s Southern Harvester, which we berthed
alongside on one occasion. We also visited their
factory bases in South Georgia in Husvik and
Grytviken. Whilst in South Georgia, we did some
mountaineering and visited explorer Ernest
Shackleton’s grave.
One of our visits was to Punta Arenas, Chile,
where the Skipper approached the jetty, rather
after the style of an impetuous destroyer (Captain
Wilkinson previously skippered a destroyer, HMS
Carron). Well ... HMS Protector was no destroyer.
We hit the jetty mid-ships, scattered a few
waiting dignitaries, and the Captain of Marines
cabin took the brunt of the encounter. We went
ashore soon after this event but couldn’t get back
on-board as Protector had to relocate to another
area for repairs. The British Consulate were very
hospitable for a couple of days!
In total, this wonderful old ship made
13 sorties to the Antarctic. This year is the 60th

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anniversary of HMS Protector’s first voyage to the
Antarctic and the occasion will be celebrated in
Bristol in May. ‘The best loved ship in the Royal
Navy by those who served on her’.
In 1970, HMS Protector retired to the
‘shipyard in the sky’ at Inverkeithing, Scotland,
where she was broken up. Today, there is a new
Norwegian built icebreaker which has been
purchased by the Royal Navy and carries the
old ship’s name. She is currently on her second
voyage to the Antarctic. Last month, she stopped
over in Lyttleton, Christchurch, New Zealand. I
was very envious when I learnt that my daughter,
Claire, and my grand-daughter, Charlotte, went
on-board.
God bless all who sail in her, but I bet you
won’t have such a fun time as we did in days
gone by! Sadly some of my colleagues have now
‘Crossed the Bar’. However, the new Protector will
ensure that new life will be breathed into the very
active ‘HMS Protector Association’.
HMS Protector has just sailed south below
the 77 degree latitude in the Ross Sea.

Above: The “new” HMS Protector, currently deployed in
Antarctic waters.

If It Can go Wrong ...
by Rod Ashlin
Skipper, Gold Sunday Crew, QF6
There is an often quoted saying that “if it can
go wrong, it will’. This is a true story with only
the names withheld to protect the innocent.

A

substantial 42-foot steel motor sailing
catamaran was loaned to a friend so that
he could have a few days cruising with his
lady friend, as well as 4 children who were also
aboard.
The vessel left the Sunshine Coast to cruise
around the waters of Moreton Bay. The depth
sounder aboard was not working and this may
have contributed to the vessel hitting sand banks
around the northern end of Moreton Island and
bending the starboard rudder and jamming the
steering. Furthermore, one diesel motor would
not run and the other was overheating. A call for
assistance was made to Coast Guard Mooloolaba
requesting a tow to Mooloolaba.
By this time, the weather had deteriorated
and there was a strong wind warning with 25
to 30 knot Southeasterly winds. The vessel was
anchored in a sheltered position and was in no
danger, so the Skipper was happy to wait until
the weather moderated before undertaking the
25 nautical mile tow home.
The Southeaster persisted for several days
and the children were getting cabin fever being
confined to the boat, so it was arranged for them
to go ashore and go home by land.
Finally, the weather abated and we set off
to retrieve the boat and patient crew members.
Communications were now by a flattening mobile
phone as the VHF radio on the catamaran was
not working.
Suspicious of the shallows where the boat
was anchored, I asked what depth of water he

Above: The catamaran under tow on its way home to
Mooloolaba.

was in. He thought he was in around 3-4 metres.
When we arrived at the position and located the
boat, it was obvious the anchor had dragged and
he was in the middle of a large shallow patch. We
had to approach with extreme caution, as there
was some doubt whether we could get to him
with our 1.5 metre draught.
We were able to find a passage to get
alongside and raft him up to move into deeper
water. But when it came to raising his anchor,
you guessed it: the electric anchor winch would
not work and a couple of our crew went aboard
to help raise the substantial anchor and chain by
hand.
From there back to Mooloolaba was a
leisurely tow in pleasant conditions. The vessel
was deposited on its home pontoon to the
delight of owner, skipper, relatives and friends
who were on hand for its arrival. No harm was
done and no doubt a few lessons were learnt
about care when planning a boat trip, which
includes maintenance issues, weather forecasts
and all the things that can and sometimes do go
wrong.

Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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13

Trailer Maintenance

by Ian Cranney
Vessel Maintenance Officer, QF6

A

fter three months of wet and windy
weekends, the weather gods have finally
given us a great weekend for an offshore
trip. The big Spaniards are on the chew no matter
what you throw at them. The boat has full tanks,
the crew is organised, the gear all checked and
serviced and most important, she who must be
obeyed has given a leave pass (probably sick of
the bad weather complaints and can’t wait to get
us out from underfoot!)
We’ll check the trailer tyre pressure at the
servo on the way and we know the lights are
OK because they worked last time. We fitted
new LED lights and everyone knows they don’t
give a problem. Used those handy little butt
connectors for the wiring and as it’s part of the
trailer, corrosion won’t matter (all fishermen are
optimists).

Left: The consequences of trailer failure can be quite dramatic
... and expensive.
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As we pull out of the driveway and start
to accelerate, a nasty rumbling and scraping
sound makes itself evident. Yes, you guessed it: a
collapsed wheel bearing. Small thing, but enough
to ruin the start of the trip if not the whole
weekend. Some of us carry spare wheel bearing
kits with us. That works as long as the inner race
doesn’t need cutting off with an angle grinder. As
I said, we’re all optimists.
While you’ve managed to get back home
with a minimum of fuss, and it is an easy fix to
change the old bearing, you may as well get the
rest of the crew to check the tyres and lights
while you do the job. Tyres are OK apart from the
big bulge on the inside. No problem, just fit the
spare. What spare?
The brake lights flash with the left blinker
and the right blinker doesn’t work at all - bloody
corrosion in the wiring. Where to start looking?
End of the trip.
All these are common problems and
can be avoided with a little bit of after-trip
maintenance.
Boat and Trailer Wash-Down and Lubrication
We all hose our boat down after each trip and
most of us do the trailer as well. The salt buildup is best removed with a mild soap solution
and rinsed off with fresh water. Make sure you
get inside the channels and behind the wheels
(starting to sound like my mother). Soap can be
corrosive, so make sure the rinse is thorough.
I use an old weed spray bottle that clips to the

garden hose that allows me to turn the soap solution on or
off as required. Spray the springs and wheel nuts with WD40
or similar. I prefer lanolin spray. It’s a bit more costly but it
doesn’t dry out. Don’t get any WD40 on your brake pads or
discs or it could be embarrassing next time you have to stop
in a hurry.
Wheel Bearings
Use of positive pressure bearing caps is a good idea, but
you will still need to service the wheel bearings periodically
by removing, repacking with good quality high temperature
bearing grease and re-tensioning on reassembly. Even
the best sealing systems will still let water in when the hot
bearing and axle assemblies come in contact with cold water.
Trailer Lights
As far as trailer lights go, the removable light board systems
are good as they generally don’t go for a swim. These days,
most trailer lights that are hard wired to the trailer are
designed for immersion, so apart from bulb failure (not much
of a problem with LED lights), are fairly reliable.
Trailer Wiring
The same can’t be said for the wiring. Most trailer wiring
comes in a ready-made commercial harness that is not
designed for salt water, so corrosion and eventually open
circuiting of the system occurs. This usually shows up when,
as earlier in this yarn, the lights don’t behave. If you are
lucky and the fine screws that hold the wires in their relevant
fittings haven’t corroded as well, it’s just a simple matter of
cutting and stripping back the wire to where you get clean
copper. Don’t forget the trailer plug as well. It might not
go into the water (unless you are really unlucky) but it does
suffer the same issues. In the ideal world, we would use
tinned wire, but the trailer people think it’s too expensive.
Tyres (including the Spare)
Tyres are pretty easy to look after. Just make sure the
pressures are checked regularly and the side walls show no signs of
swelling and cracking.
Winch
Don’t forget to service your trailer winch occasionally. Check the cable
for broken strands, kinking and corrosion. Very embarrassing when
the cable breaks and your pride and joy shoots off the trailer, down
the recently serviced rollers and ends up in the middle of the boat
ramp. Everyone else thinks it’s funny until they realise the ramp can’t
be used because some poor unfortunate boatie has the ramp well
and truly blocked. Apart from the inconvenience caused to the other
ramp users, it plays hell with the gelcoat on your bright and shiny hull.
All this might sound like a lot of mucking about, but most of
this is what we in the trade call “preventative maintenance” and it
usually takes a minimum of time when you get back home and clean
your boat and service your fishing tackle. Anyway, enough of
this. See you on the boat ramp and tight lines to you all.

From the top: A wheel bearing failure can end a day on the water before
you even reach the boat ramp; LED trailer lights designed for immersion
are the best option; Corrosion in electrical connectors and wiring; Just like
car tyres, your trailer tyres need plenty of tread depth, too. This includes the
spare; Servicing your trailer winch can avoid embarrassing mishaps on the
ramp.
Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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15

Mayday off Mooloolaba!
by Ian Hunt
Skipper, Blue Sunday Crew, QF6

M

AYDAY – the word that sends a shiver
down your spine, because you know that
someone is in GRAVE AND IMMINENT
DANGER and requires immediate assistance.
Blue Sunday crew day started off as usual
with a short briefing before opening up the
vessels. As has been the norm lately, the weather
was not good for boating, with 20 to 25 knots,
1.5 to 2 metre swells and 1.5 metre seas forecast.
The boat trailer park was virtually empty and so a
day to train our new crew members was the plan
– how wrong we were.
The morning went to plan and after a short
lunch break, we decided to head up to Chippo’s
to top up Rhondda Rescue’s tanks. Our procedure
is to shut down the vessel’s systems and then
monitor our Radio Room on Channel 73 using a
hand held radio on the fuel pontoon away from
the vessel.
With the refuelling task completed, we
commenced turning everything back on. Just
then our duty Radio Operator asked if we had
heard the MAYDAY call on Channel16: a vessel
was upside down off Mooloolaba with five
people in the water. Well, we hadn’t heard the
call on 16, but the call on 73 got our heart rates
up just as fast. Within a minute we were heading
down the canal on the way to assist at slightly
more than the speed limit (sorry Kyle!).
On exiting the river, we could see a couple
of yachts and the Mooloolaba Jet Ride boat
about three quarters of a mile off the Maroochy
River entrance, so we went as fast as possible in
the conditions, all the while trying to ascertain
the situation in order to respond back to the
Water Police through our Radio Operator.
En route, we learnt that all five crew had
got out of the trimaran Rapture with only one
minor injury, but were still on the upturned
vessel. On arrival, we were met by a very sorry
looking trimaran with one hull obviously broken
off, and three vessels and a Surf Club jet ski
standing by. The jet ski transferred two of the
trimaran’s crew members to Rhondda Rescue,
with three opting to stay on Rapture to assist
with the righting attempt. The two crew who
transferred to Rhondda Rescue were checked over
to ensure they were both physically OK, then
given some warm dry clothes and a drink.

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Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

Above: The scene which greeted Rhondda Rescue: The
trimaran Rapture capsized with her crew on the hull awaiting
rescue.

Then the job of getting Rapture the right
way up began in 20 knot winds and a decent SE
swell running. The crew on Rapture decided that
the best way to have any chance was to turn the
trimaran with the broken hull facing the swell,
then put our tow line over the centre hull and
tied a line to the good outrigger. With the line
attached it was no easy feat trying to manoeuvre
Rhondda Rescue while ensuring our towline did
not damage the centreboard or rudder.
With Coxswain Ray Rahn on the flybridge
helm and Restricted Coxswain Steve Doulgeris
running the back deck, I was able to direct the
operation from the flybridge, communicating by
VHF to the Rapture crew who had managed to
retrieve a VHF hand held radio from the cabin.
After getting the lines attached, the first
attempt commenced. Rapture had just started
to roll over when the rated shackle broke, luckily
with no damage to the crew or vessel.
We quickly hauled in the towline and took
the sacrificial section off before getting the
towline back to the yacht. Well, as our heaving
line was on Rapture from the first attempt, an
unusual event happened in that the crew of the
distressed vessel had to throw the heaving line to
us to be able to get the towline across.
Plan B resulted in the Rapture crew using
two lines over the centre hull connected to
our towline. With the all clear signal given, the
second attempt commenced with Rapture slowly
turning over as Ray applied more of Rhondda’s
1,000HP to the job. A cheer went up as the
crew scrambled back on board to sort out their

Above: Right way up after two attempts but what a sad and
sorry mess.

Above: Rapture berthed at Mooloolaba Marina.

rigging, mast, sails and of course the broken hull.
When all was secure, we commenced the
tow back to Mooloolaba at two knots. However,
it soon became evident that the mast and sails
would have to be cut away as the drag was just
too much. Without cable cutters the job took
quite a while to achieve, all the while with Ray
trying to keep both vessels orientated to the
wind and swells. Finally, the mast was consigned
to the deep and we commenced the slow tow
back, only have to stop for the crew to realign
the towline and better secure the broken hull that
was trying to duck dive under the centre hull.
Getting Rapture safely docked was the
next problem as we could not raft it to the
preferred side in the run out tide, as it was the
port hull that was damaged. After a few radio
and phone calls, we made arrangements for the

long Mooloolaba Marina pontoon berth opposite
QF6 to be available so we could just tow Rapture
alongside, helped by the yachties who had come
down on the pontoon to assist.
Another great job on the helm. Three
hours after our refuelling exercise we were safely
docked back at our pontoon, with the muchrelieved crew of Rapture stepping ashore in their
old but warm QF6 attire.
Our crew did a great job getting Rapture
safely home. This was apparently the first time
that one of these vessels had been successfully
righted at sea. However, it would have been
virtually impossible without the three Rapture
crew members staying on board their vessel. In
the end it was a great team effort and maybe one
day soon we will see Rapture once again racing
off Mooloolaba.

Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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17

The Plasticene

compiled by David Garwood
Editor, QF5

W

hen we look over the side of our Coast
Guard boats, for the most parts we see
a pristine picture, a translucent blue or
greenish water with only the occasional piece
of pollution. But under the surface, the reality
is so different. Here on the Sunshine Coast, we
are blessed in so many ways, and the level of
pollutants in our adjacent waters is another
blessing compared to other areas. But the
movement of the oceans does not keep it all in
one place.
Different ages have been labelled – The
Pleistocene, The Holocene. In a million years, if
man is still alive, will the 21st century be known as
the Plasticene? If archaeologists and geologists
look through the sediments, will they see layer
upon layer of plastic debris?
I have a rather extremely environmentally
aware friend who when he first brought this to
my attention, I thought was nuts, but when I
started to look into it I realised that in fact we
are blissfully unaware of the reality. Some of the
statistics are mind blowing, the photos alarming
(and if you google “ocean plastic pollution
images” there are hundreds upon hundreds,
some of which I have reproduced here.
Currently, around 300 million tons of
plastics are produced worldwide annually, and
around a third is thrown away, mostly into
landfill, but a substantial portion finds its way
into the ocean. In 2013, China produced 24.8% of
the world’s plastics and Europe 20%. Los Angeles
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Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

area rivers dump 30 tonnes of plastic into the
Pacific Ocean each day, and Romania dumps over
1500 tonnes per year into the Black Sea via the
Danube.
So what becomes of all this plastic? And
that is the problem – we don’t yet know the
whole story. Some is washed up on beaches,
some is eaten by wildlife. But what of the rest?
What long-term effect will the broken down
pieces have on wildlife and the food chain?
What we do know is that the circulation of
the major oceans tends to concentrate plastic
and other debris in specific locations, much as
when you stir a bowl of noodles they tend to
move to the centre. Known as Gyres, these slow
surface currents meander from coast to coast
in circular loops – clockwise in the Northern
Hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the Southern
Hemisphere.
In 1997 oceanographer Charles Moore
sailed his yacht from Hawaii to California and
came across the North Pacific Gyre or what is
now known as the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”.
There are 5 main ocean gyres and it is
estimated that 70% of the debris found in gyres
is plastic. Research ships have trawled nets to
measure and qualify this pollution, but because
of mesh size only larger pieces can be assessed.
Research has shown that recovered and
measured debris does not add up to what is
believed to be there, so some must break down.
Traditional thinking was that this was not the

Image courtesy of Metropolis Mag.

case, and the breakdown rate is certainly very
slow. Very small plastic in our oceans can range
from synthetic fibres liberated from clothes in the
wash, through ‘plastic micro-beads”, tiny plastic
spheres created to help the binding process in
cosmetics, through to a breakdown of larger
pieces that form the little known effects of algae
and bacteria.

Image courtesy of National Ocean and Maritime Association.

Note how little Australia contributes to the
problem. Look just above us – Asia generally and
China and Indonesia specifically. Attitudes to
garbage in poorer Asian countries are all about
survival – why worry about garbage when we are
just subsiding? We are also lucky that the North
Pacific Gyre captures most of this and does not
trouble Australia. Look at the image of Hawaii
where the gyres from both north and south have
an influence. We are so fortunate here that the
debris moves away from our land.

Image courtesy of Wall Street Journal.

Top: Beach in Asia. Centre: Asian foreshore. (Images courtesy of
dt101re.wordpress.) Above: Beach in Hawaii. (Image courtesy of
Japan Times.)

Highest concentrations were in the order of
10kg per square kilometre, which doesn’t sound
like much, but is equivalent to 800 water bottles.
Given the huge ocean area, it starts to come into
perspective. And remember these are
just the recoverable sized pieces.
Part of the problem is that our
well-meaning recycling policies are not
very effective. It is often cheaper for
manufacturers to produce new material
than to buy, transport and recycle. In
Europe, particularly the UK, there is a
scandal that individual householders
can be fined for putting recyclables
into general garbage bins (and believe
it or not, some councils have a scanner
which can differentiate the two), BUT
Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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19

about a quarter of England. Every
single year.
We know that plastic bags
pose a hazard to marine mammals,
particularly turtles, which mistake
them for jellyfish and ingest
them. Sea birds can also become
entangled in them.
It is estimated that there
are about 46,000 pieces of plastic
in every square mile of ocean.
However, this is all plastics, not
just bags, and can range from
micro-beads to large debris. Bags
Image courtesy of National Geographic.

then most of the recyclables are dumped into
landfill anyway because there are no buyers
for the materials!
England is the latest in a line of countries
and territories to get tough on single-use,
high-density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic
bags – the type dished out in many shops – by
introducing a levy on their use.
Plastic bag use is endemic to consumer
societies and the statistics are alarming. It is
estimated that globally, between 500 billion
and 1 trillion plastic bags are discarded every
year.
Single-use bags measure about 30 cm
by 35 cm. Taking the lower estimate of 500
billion bags, if every plastic bag used in a
year was flattened, there would be enough to
completely carpet Wales and almost half of
Scotland in plastic. On the upper estimate of
1 trillion, we could carpet Wales, Scotland and

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Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

Image courtesy of Sailors for the Sea.

are a small fraction of this. Another theory
is that the main danger to marine life is not
ingesting bags, but a concentrated toxic
mix of water-borne chemicals that plastic
absorbs and which fish and other marine
life ingest through tiny plastic particles.
Research is also current into the
residual micro-plastic levels in shellfish,
particularly commercially grown mussels.
Currently, it is not a measurable health risk
to humans, but what of the future?
My reading has led me to the
conclusion that although global warming
seems to be getting all the press, marine
pollution is a far greater and very real
threat.

Image courtesy of ehp.niehs.nih.gov.

There is a wealth of information on the web,
and I used so many web-based sources I
cannot credit them all, but New Scientist
was a major resource. I have put a few links
below for anyone who is further interested:
http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/
health/case_studies/plastics.html
http://www.projectgreenbag.com/howdoes-plastic-get-into-the-ocean/
http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/
features/2012/06/20126681156629735.html

Battery Care and Maintenance
As we all know, maintenance is an important part of owning a boat. However,
we tend to neglect the battery. Without a fully charged, reliable battery, a day on
the water can lead to disaster. Below are some pointers to maintain your battery.
• Keep top of battery clean and dry
• Battery terminals should be kept clean and tight
• Check that the battery is securely fastened as battery plates can be damaged by excessive
vibration
• If accessible type of battery, ensure water levels are correct after charging. Do not overfill or add
when battery is discharged
• Use only an automotive cut off battery charger and recharge after use even if the motor has a
charging system
If more information is required on battery maintenance, please contact:

The Wise Old Owl at Battery Wise Sunshine Coast
5437 6799 / 5 Main Drive, Warana 4575

Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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21

Voyage to the
White Continent
by a QF6 Supporter

Cuverville Island

D

ay 1 to 8: Joined the Seabourn Quest at
Valparaiso and sailed down the Chilean
Fjords, visiting the ports of Puerto Montt,
Castro and Punta Arenas before visiting the
Argentine port of Ushuaia.
Day 9: Crossed Drake’s Passage (well Drake’s
Lake – it had only a slight swell).
Day 10: Half Moon Island – blue sky and no
wind. By Zodiac to shore and among fledgling
chinstrap penguins. Some were still sitting on
eggs, which so late into the season have no
chance of survival.
Day 11: Cuverville Island. A large Gentoo
penguin colony (about 4,000 nests), so it is
feeding time all day. Parents trying to find their
chicks and chicks just wanting to be fed mean
a lot of commotion and entertainment for
the visitors. Icebergs of all shapes and sizes in
between ship and shore meant a longer trip in
the Zodiacs, but humpback and minke whales
and seals kept the cameras clicking. The weather
was typical - low cloud, grey and light snow, but
again no wind.
Day 12: Torgersen Island. Four of the exploration
teams on the ship have spent time here at Palmer
Station (U.S). As this is a wildlife research station,

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this is the first time that a tourist ship has been
here. While we were not allowed to land here, the
Zodiacs slowly approached seals on icebergs –
who curiously looked back at us. Adelie penguins,
albatross, giant petrels, gulls, cormorants and
skua kept the bird watchers happy. On the
weather front, the day started as 50 shades of
grey and turned into a sunny afternoon.
Day 13: Argentine Island. We were meant to land
on Petermann Island, but due to ice flows and
icebergs, that was out of the question. So into the
Zodiacs, and for the more adventurous kayaks,
for tours around the Argentine Archipelago.
Day 14: Nuemayer Channel. Icebergs prevented
us from being at Waterboat Point, so the Captain
took us scenic cruising through the Gerlache
Strait, Nuemayer Channel and Wilhelmina Bay.
Great whale spotting (but better off Mooloolaba
or Hervey Bay, as here you only see the
spouts, their backs and flukes as they dive and
disappear). Humpbacks were plentiful in the
area and a pod for orcas (killer whales) made an
appearance. Weatherwise, we woke up to a ship
covered in snow and icicles hanging above the
balcony; a grey day with light snow and 15 knot
winds.

Day 15: Waterboat Point. We made it – Antarctica
mainland. Here we were guests at the Chilean
Research Station Gonzalez Videla, which sits in the
middle of a Gentoo colony. Concrete paths connect
all the buildings and are regularly water blasted
to remove guano (well attempt to) and we were
requested to stay on these paths in an attempt to
prevent the guano and the SMELL from entering
the buildings. You just have to be downwind and
you can smell the guano, but staying on the paths is
for a very good reason as your boots are scrubbed
before you go back on board.
Day 16: Another crossing of Drake’s Passage (again
smooth) heading for the Falkland Islands (weather
prevented landing).
Day 17: Invited by the Captain to visit the bridge.
While there is a wheel (only small and not used
much), the bridge is totally paperless, all charts
are electronic and so is the ship’s log. Heading to
Montevideo, Buenos Aires and then the long flight
home.

Top row, left to right: Half Moon Island; Chinstrap Penguin colony, Half Moon Island; Gentoo Penguins in nests, Cuverville Island;
Centre row, left to right: Seabourn Quest; Icebergs;
Bottom row, left to right: Ship covered in snow; Antarctic mainland and the Chilean research station at Waterboat Point.
Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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23

Midnight Rescue
by Julie Hartwig
Editor, QF17

J

ust after 11.30pm on Thursday 25 February,
I had turned the TV off and was heading for
bed when the phone rang. Now, I don’t know
about other Coast Guard members, but when the
phone rings at that hour of the night, it’s almost
always Coast Guard and always a call-out.
I wasn’t wrong. It was QF17’s Commander
John Van Der Heijde advising of a Water Police
activation to assist a vessel that had activated
its EPIRB on the Wide Bay Bar. My first thought
was that the Commander wanted my partner
- Leading Coxswain Jon Jones - for boat crew.
But no. He just wanted Jon (also QF17’s Radio
Officer) to man the radios for the activation.
QF17’s primary rescue vessel, Cooloola
Rescue II, departed Base at 0010 hours on
Friday 26 February with Skipper Coxswain Ross
Ashley and crew Coxswain (and Commander)
John Van Der Heije, and Restricted Coxswains
Keven Hufschmid and Daryl Williams on board.
Sunshine Coast Air Asset 511 (rescue helicopter,
which does not have lifting capability) had
also been tasked to assist and was en route
to the EPIRB position provided by the Rescue
Coordination Centre (RCC) in Canberra.
CRII proceeded to Inskip Point on what
proved to be a filthy night for an activation
on the Bar. A Strong Wind Warning had been
in place for several days, which meant rough
conditions and big, breaking seas on the bar,
which had consequently reduced bar traffic to
minimal. To further complicate the situation,
the timing of this activation meant the crossing
would be undertaken in the middle of the ebb
tide - the worst possible
time to cross the bar
when the outgoing tidal
flow was at its strongest.
During this time,
more information about
the vessel’s situation was
received and the perilous
nature of this activation
became apparent.

Right: MapSource plot of the
rescue.
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QF17’s soon-to-be-replaced primary rescue vessel,
Cooloola Rescue II.

The 11.3m sailing catamaran with two crew
on board had sailed south down the Great Sandy
Strait earlier in the evening then proceeded to
cross the Wide Bay Bar. During the bar crossing,
the vessel was capsized. It was not on QF17’s
log and QF17 had no knowledge of the vessel’s
presence in the area.
CRII arrived at Inskip Point and commenced
the bar crossing at 0044 hours. Sea conditions
were described as “horrific” and the crossing took
almost thirty minutes.
During this time, Rescue 511 had located
the stricken vessel and hovered overhead,
providing CRII with updates on the vessel’s
location and situation, which included the good
news that the two crew were sitting on top of the
capsized vessel, awaiting rescue.
CRII arrived at the scene outside the line of
breakers on the north spit at 0118. At this time,
511 reported it could no longer remain on task
due to fuel constraints and departed, leaving the
Coast Guard to effect rescue.
CRII was manoeuvred to within five
metres of the upturned hull and the life ring was
deployed. One crew took the life ring, while the
other swam across to CRII. By 0124, the two very
relieved crew were safely on board CRII, which

proceeded back to Waypoint 1 to cross the bar
inbound.
With the tidal conditions now at their
worst, CRII’s skipper assessed the conditions and
decided they were too dangerous; they would
wait outside the bar for the two hours until low
tide at 0333, then reassess the situation.
At 0324, CRII advised they were back at
WPT 1 and commencing the inbound crossing. In
rough conditions, inbound crossings tend to be
seat-of-the-pants, white-knuckle rides. Basically,
sit down, belt up, put the boat on the back of a
wave, maintain power and speed to match the
wave’s speed and hang on.
It took 22 minutes to complete the 3.3 nm
crossing in conditions described by the crew as
“very rough with 2 to 3 metre seas and breaking
waves a bit higher on the outer bank”. At 0356, it
was a relief to receive CRII’s report that she was
safe “inside”. CRII docked at the Base at 0430.
On Friday morning, a light plane overflight
of the capsized vessel confirmed it was still
afloat north of the bar and still outside the line
of breakers. However, Saturday morning found
the wreckage of the catamaran strewn along the
beach north of Hook Point on Fraser Island.
After the rescue, the crew wrote the
following letter of appreciation and thanks, which
was accompanied by a generous donation.

“Dear Coast Guard
We are writing to you, to once
again thank you for your assistance in
our rescue after our catamaran Catcha
capsized crossing the Wide Bay Bar.
We understand the situation was
risky for all the volunteers involved. We
can’t thank everyone enough for this.
If the rescue crew hadn’t come out, the
outcome could have been very different.
Your crew were extremely efficient and
comforting once we were on board. The
fact that we were out of the water within
1.5 hours of setting off the EPIRB, shows
the efficiency of your organisation.
We know conditions were far from
ideal, and your vessel sustained some
damage. We would like to show our
appreciation with the enclosed donation.
Kind regards
Jamie & Michael Leitver”

Above: A photo of the vessel (circled) taken by a light
plane on an overflight 8 hours after the rescue. The line
approximately describes the route over the Wide Bay Bar.
(Photo by Peter Lambert)

Below: Wreckage of the vessel on the beach north of Hook
Point on Saturday 27 February. (Photos by Fraser Island Taxi

Service)

This is why the Australian Volunteer
Coast Guard exists.
Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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25

History of Ships:
HMAS Maryborough

compiled by Jon Colless
Flotilla Radio Officer, QF21

HMAS Maryborough (J195) at Alexandria, 1942.
Note the disruptive “razzle-dazzle” camouflage.

The Royal Australian Navy has a proud tradition of naming its ships after Australian towns and
cities. The Fraser coast town of Maryborough is one such town and HMAS Maryborough is one such
ship. This article looks at the history of the first HMAS Maryborough.

H

MAS Maryborough (pennant number J195)
was one of 60 Bathurst-class Australian
minesweepers (commonly known
as corvettes), built by Australian shipyards
during World War II as part of the Australian
government’s wartime shipbuilding program.

Twenty vessels (including Maryborough) were
built on Admiralty order but manned and
commissioned by the Royal Australian Navy.
HMAS Maryborough was built by Walkers
in Maryborough in 1940, at a cost of 130,000
pounds, without armament fitted.
She was launched in her namesake town
Maryborough on 17 October, 1940. During the
launch, she hit the mud. This was an event that
had a lot of superstitious old salts shaking their
heads and probably making dire predictions that
this was not a good omen.
Maryborough was commissioned at
Maryborough on June 12, 1941, under the
command of Lieutenant Commander Glen L.
Cant, RAN.
Left: HMAS Maryborough under construction at Walkers Ltd,
Maryborough, Queensland.

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Maryborough took the US Navy submarine USS
Sea Raven in tow and brought her to Fremantle.
The submarine, which had rescued a party of
servicemen from Timor, had broken down.
On 3 November 1942, Maryborough departed
Fremantle for Diego Garcia en route to join the
Eastern Fleet. The following four months were
spent escorting shipping from Colombo to
Bombay and to the Persian Gulf.
In May 1943, Maryborough entered the
Mediterranean. She spent five months in this
theatre performing convoy, escort and antisubmarine patrols, including the operations for
the Sicily landings.

Above: Lieutenant Commander G.L. Cant, RAN with his ship’s
company in Alexandria, 1943.

Above: Maryborough on the slip in her namesake town,
Maryborough, Queensland, on the day of her launching, 17
October, 1940.

After a brief period of service on Australia’s
east coast, Maryborough proceeded to Singapore
in November 1941, where she became a unit of
the 21st Minesweeping Flotilla. Following the
outbreak of the Pacific War, Maryborough, with
six of her sister ships, played a notable part in
the Malayan-Java-Sumatran operations. This
deployment ended on 2nd March 1942, when
Maryborough departed Tjilatjap for Fremantle.
The period from March to November
1942 was spent on escort and patrol duties in
Western Australian waters based at Fremantle.
It was an uneventful period. During April 1942,

In November 1943, Maryborough returned
to the Indian Ocean and resumed her convoy
escort duties. After a year of these activities and
more than two years of overseas service, she
returned to Fremantle on 3 December 1944.
After three and a half months in Australian
waters, Maryborough departed Sydney on 16
March 1945 heading for Seeadler Harbour.
Maryborough spent the remaining months of the
war on patrol in Australian and New Guinea. On
‘VJ’ Day, 15 August 1945, Maryborough was en
route from Milne Bay to Seeadler.
The remainder of her active service
with the RAN was spent as a unit of the 21st
Minesweeping Flotilla based in Hong Kong. In
December 1945, she finally returned to Australian
and was paid off for disposal.
Maryborough was sold to the Australian
General Trading and Shipping Syndicate, Sydney
(Comino Bros Pty Ltd) on 9 May 1947. Her new
owners put her in Honduran registry, and despite
a number of schemes to put her into service, she
never left the Stanley Wharf in South Brisbane.
In 1950, she was passed in at auction at a
20,000 pound reserve. She sat and rusted and
suffered the depredations of “river hawks” who
stole any brass fittings they could abscond with.
In September 1952, she was renamed
Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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Isobel Queen under the captaincy of a John
Heuston Kennedy, a mysterious bearded man
who said he was going to take her out on charter
to perform high seas salvage work under the
Bolivian flag. However, that plan never came to
fruition and the ship’s owners couldn’t find any
trace of Captain Kennedy. The scratch crew had
disappeared as well.
In early April 1953, she was still moored
in the same spot, listing to port, still under a
Honduran flag, and missing a lot of brass fittings.
The only man aboard was the watchman. The
owners claimed that the pilfered equipment was
non-essential, that getting her seaworthy would
not be a major undertaking, and that the engines
and boilers were in excellent condition. They put
her up for sale.
Later in 1953, she was resold to Carr
Enterprises Ltd, Sydney, for breaking up. An
inglorious end for a once-proud vessel. Perhaps
the superstitious old salts were right ...
The name Maryborough continues in
service in the RAN today. The current HMAS
Maryborough (P95) (below) is an Armidale-class
patrol boat (ACPB). Her primary role includes
fisheries protection, immigration, customs and
drug law enforcement operations, working in
conjunction with other Government agencies
as part of the Coastwatch-managed national
surveillance effort.
Information sourced from:
1. www.navy.gov.au
2. The Sunday Mail, April 19th 1953.

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MARYBOROUGH AT A GLANCE ...

Class: Bathurst Class
Type: Australian Minesweeper
Pennant: J195
Builder: Walkers Ltd, Maryborough, Qld
Laid Down: 16 April, 1940
Launched: 17 October 1940
Launched by: Mrs Goldsmith, wife of the
General Manager, Walkers Ltd
Commissioned: 12 June 1941
Decommissioned/Paid Off: December 1945
Fate: Sold to Australian General Trading &
Shipping Syndicate, 9 May, 1947
Renamed: Isobel Queen
Acquired: 9 May, 1947
Registry: Honduran
Career: High seas charter and salvage (planned
but did not eventuate)
Fate: Sold, late 1953 to Carr Enterprises for
breaking up
General Characteristics
Displacement: 650 tons
Length (LOA): 185 ft 8 in
Beam: 31 ft
Draught: 8 ft 6 in
Speed: 15 knots
Propulsion: Triple expansion, 2 shafts
Horsepower: 1,750 hp
Armament: 1 x 4 in gun; 3 x Oerlikon guns
Complement: 85
Battle Honours
Pacific 1942; Indian Ocean 1942-44; Sicily 1943

Survival in the Sea
by Michael Tipton

Professor of Human and Applied Physiology,
University of Portsmouth, UK

Professor Tipton has spent more than 25 years researching the body’s thermoregulation.
He has conducted many experiments to identify the precise mechanisms that cause
the adverse reactions experienced by a ‘man overboard’ and to help improve survival
equipment and training.

A

healthy human body has a core
temperature of 37°C, but upon sudden
immersion in cold water, people
experience cold-shock, triggered by cold
receptors in the skin. It leads to a gasp reflex,
uncontrollable hyperventilation, constriction
of superficial blood vessels, an increased work
demand on the heart, and panic.
The cold-shock response peaks in the first
30 seconds of immersion and lasts a couple of
minutes. The key to survival is to do nothing.
Float or hold on to something to rest and keep
the airway clear of the water; a life jacket can be
crucial at this time. Let the response disappear
before taking action. The chances of taking water
into the lungs greatly increases when trying
to swim on initial immersion and it only takes
around 1 – 1.5 litres of sea water in the lungs
to drown. In cold water (anything under 15°C),
normally clothed people have a maximum-hold
breath time that averages around five seconds,
instead of the usual 60. Just when you need to
be able to hold your breath there’s a horrible
sensation of the diaphragm contracting causing
an urge to breathe.
My advice to water users is: don’t
fall in! Wear a safety harness and clip
on. And always wear a life jacket. We
know that the chances of dying on
immersion are increased by a factor of
6-10 if you’re not wearing a life jacket.
The single greatest way to reduce the
number of deaths on immersion is to
have people wearing decent life jackets.
They should be supplied as standard
with watercraft – just as you buy a car
with seat belts.
A good life jacket with a spray
hood, light and crotch straps fastened
will decrease the effort you have to
make in keeping your airway clear,
increase your ability to be seen, and

increase your chances of being rescued. It’s so
much easier for rescue personnel to haul you out
of the water when they can grab your life jacket.
COLD-SHOCK FACTS
The Body Responds with:
• A gasp reflex – an initial gasp of 2-3 litres
of air in adults followed by uncontrollable
rapid over breathing (hyperventilation). The
gasp results in breathing occurring to near
total lung capacity and creates the sensation
of difficulty in breathing and panic, while
hyperventilation may cause confusion and
the small muscles in the hands and face to go
into spasm.
• Constriction of superficial blood vessels –
leads to increased resistance to blood flow in
the skin and increased blood pressure. This,
plus the increase in heart rate introduce the
danger of heart problems.
Cold-Shock and its Consequences are
reduced by:
• Wearing watertight clothing and a life jacket
• Being aerobically fit
• Being habituated to cold
• Staying still for the first couple of minutes

Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

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Squadron Contacts

QF21 SANDY

•STRAIT

QF21 SANDY STRAIT

QF17 TIN CAN BAY

Commander: Don Archer - 0429 151 045
Deputy Commander: Dale Green - 0437 015 770
Base: Phone 07 4129 8141 | Fax 07 4129 8907
Email: qf21@coastguard.com.au | Operations - operations.qf21@coastguard.com.au
Post: PO Box 341, Maryborough, QLD 4650
Location: 126 Eckert Rd, Boonooroo
Hours of Operation: 0700 - 1800 daily | 1800 - 0700 Duty Skipper on call
Radio Call Sign: VMR421 or Coast Guard Sandy Strait
Radio Frequencies Monitored: VHF 16, 80, 82 | 27MHz 88, 90
Operational Area: Great Sandy Strait south to Kauri Creek and north to McKenzie’s Jetty;
Mary River up to the Barrage

QF17 TIN CAN BAY

Commander: John Van Der Heijde - 0447 166 906
Deputy Commander: Phil Feldman - 0414 591 947
Base: Phone - 07 5486 4290 | Fax - 07 5486 4568 | Mob - 0419 798 651
Email: operations.qf17@coastguard.com.au
Post: PO Box 35, Tin Can Bay, QLD 4580
Location: In the boat ramp car park, Norman Point at 25° 54’ S / 153° 00’ E
Hours of Operation: 0600 - 1800 daily
Radio Call Sign: VMR417 or Coast Guard Tin Can Bay
Frequencies Monitored: VHF 16, 67, 80, 82 | 27MHz 88, 90
Operational Area: Tin Can Inlet & adjacent creeks; Great Sandy Strait north to S38;
Offshore waters north to Indian Head, south to Double Island Point & 50nm to seaward

QF5 NOOSA

QF5 NOOSA

Commander: Alan Hall - 0414 957 427
Deputy Commander: Ian Hutchings
Base: Phone - 07 5474 3695 | Emergencies - 07 5449 7670
Email: fao.qf5@coastguard.com.au
Post: PO Box 274, Tewantin, QLD 4565
Location: Russell St, Munna Point in the Noosa River Caravan Park
Hours of Operation: 24/7 | 365 days
Radio Call Sign: VMR405 or Coast Guard Noosa
Radio Frequencies Monitored: VHF 16, 22, 80 | 27MHz 88, 91
Operational Area: The entire Noosa River and its lakes; Offshore waters north to Double
Island Point, south to Point Arkwright and 50nm to seaward

QF6 MOOLOOLABA

Commander: Ian Hunt - 0411 351 001
Deputy Commander: Rod Ashlin - 0418 874 780
Base: Phone - 07 5444 3222 | Email: operations.qf6@coastguard.com.au
Post: 65 Parkyn Parade, Mooloolaba, QLD 4557
Location: In the boat ramp carpark, Parkyn Parade at 26° 41.1’ S / 153° 07.6’ E
Hours of Operation: 365 days 0600 - 2200 | 2200 - 0600 Night watch (CH 16)
Administration Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 0800 - 1200
Radio Call Sign: VMR406 or Coast Guard Mooloolaba
Radio Frequencies Monitored: VHF 16, 67, 73, 80 | 27MHz 88, 90
Operational Area: North to Point Arkwright, south to Point Cartwright & 50nm to seaward

QF6 MOOLOOLABA

QF4 CALOUNDRA

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QF4 CALOUNDRA

Commander: Tony Barker - 0439 913 533
Deputy Commander: Alan Hingston - 0400 332 421
Base: Phone 07 5491 3533 | Fax 07 5491 7516
Email: operations.qf4@coastguard.com.au
Post: PO Box 150, Caloundra, QLD 4551
Location: Tripcony Lane, Caloundra off Maloja Avenue
Hours of Operation: Weekdays 0530 - 1200 | Weekends/Public Holidays 0530 - 1700
Radio Call Sign: VMR404 or Coast Guard Caloundra
Radio Frequencies Monitored: VHF 16, 73 | 27MHz 88, 91
Operational Area: Offshore waters north to Point Cartwright, south to approximately
halfway down Bribie Island & 40nm to seaward

Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast

ELVA CRAFT

Specialised in Fibreglass

Gelcoat Repairs  Floors Transoms  Alterations
 Ice Boxes  Marine Moulders  Detailing
 Fuel Tanks  Mobile Servicing

Contractors to Caloundra Coast Guard
HAROLD TIMMER
14 Spinnaker Boulevard, Wurtulla Qld 4575
Phone: (07) 5493 4437 Mobile: 0412 844 434

Pelican Motors
Service Centre
• New Car Servicing
• Paint & Panel Repairs
• All Mechanical Repairs
• All Insurance Work
• LPG Installation
• Used Car Sales
• One Stop Car Shop

Pelican Motors Service Centre
Paint & Panel
17 Bronwyn Street, Caloundra

Phone: 5491 3234

Email: service@pelicanmotors.com

Coast Guard Rescue
Sunshine
Coast
A Proud Sponsor of the Caloundra Volunteer
Coast
Guard

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Coast Guard Rescue Sunshine Coast