GO WITH THE FLOW: The 14m unmanned catamaran that drifted upstream of the Burnett River.
GO WITH THE FLOW: The 14m unmanned catamaran that drifted upstream of the Burnett River. Contributed

Boat rescues: windy weather causes chaos

THE windy weather played havoc for a few boaties in the Burnett River on Wednesday.

Two incidents played out just days after a Volunteer Marine Rescue crew assisted two groups fishing off the coast of Bundaberg.

VMR public relations officer Graham Kingston said the strong northerly winds were to blame.

"Just before 11am VMR Bundaberg received two calls about a 14m unmanned catamaran drifting upstream in the area between then Sugar Terminal and the Sailing Club in the Burnett River," Dr Kingston said.

"VMR contacted Maritime Safety Queensland who were able to locate the owners, who were out of town."



VMR Bundaberg crews help a  10 metre ferro-cement yacht stuck in mangroves. Photo Contributed
STUCK IN THE...: The VMR Bundaberg crew helps a 10m ferro-cement yacht stuck in mangroves. Contributed


Dr Kingston said the owners were able to arrange for a family member to be onboard the vessel and to take responsibility for the relocation, which took several hours to arrange.

Meanwhile another call was received from a 10 metre ferro-cement yacht that dragged anchor and was up against the mangroves near Rubyanna Creek.

"Bundy Rescue 2 was on scene and the duty skipper decided to deal first with the yacht in the mangroves as it was starting to list," Dr Kingston said.

"It was decided not to drag the cat off the rocks as this would have caused major structural damage," he said.

"Additional anchors were deployed to allow subsequent re-floating on a suitable tide.

"The vessel only had a manual recovery winch and an elderly crew so it took quite some time to get the anchor up for the tow to Bundaberg Port Marina."

Dr Kingston said the incidents added to concerns raised by VMR about unseaworthy vessels anchored in the river during major weather events such as strong winds and floods.

"There are a number of vessels in the river that don't have functional engines which means in big weather events, they cannot be moved unless they are towed," he said.

"This raises concerns because they can hit other vessels and can't be controlled by the owner.

"We also have a policy of not dealing with unmanned vessels."

Wednesday's events were the second lot of water rescues this week, with crews helping a six-metre runabout at popular fishing spot 15 Mile and a 53-foot ketch, 14 nautical miles north of Burnett Heads on Sunday.