VMR North Stradbroke Island hopes to purchase a RIB to replace its Noosa cat this year

VESSEL: President of VMR North Stradbroke Island Gordon McInnes is keen to upgrade this 18-year-old Noosa cat for a more modern rigid inflateable craft.
VESSEL: President of VMR North Stradbroke Island Gordon McInnes is keen to upgrade this 18-year-old Noosa cat for a more modern rigid inflateable craft.

Members of the North Stradbroke Island VMR are fundraising towards a new $500,000 vessel  to be operational this year to replace its 18-year-old Noosa cat.

Chair of the subcommittee which is looking into the vessel Richard Dunn said the group was looking for $500,000 to purchase a  10.8 metre Rigid Inflateable Boat (RIB) with two 300hp motors and state of the art forward looking infared cameras, radars and radios.

Mr Dunn said this vessel was well equipped to cross the South Passage bar, medivac patients and  conduct successful search and rescue operations.  He said preliminary design work has already started with Woody Marine Fabrications at Tingalpa.

“These aren’t recreational boats.  They are work boats specifically designed to perform the work we require,” he said.

“The boats are fast, serviceable, comfortable, stable and are perfect for patrol.  They are used extensively by police and coast guard.”

The boat can take one stretcher and two or three more patients in a medivac situation. 

To date, the club has almost $100,000 from the sale of another boat and is eligible to receive $140,000 from the State Governmente towards the boat’s purchase.

“We used to have support from the mining company, but that’s about to finish.  We are seeking corporate identities on the island to offer support.  Depending on this sponsorship, there may be boat naming rights on the table,” Mr Dunn said.

Mr Dunn said the group was also seeking crowd funding and was holding its usual fund raising initiatives including sausage sizzles and, most recently, a book fair.

“We feel our goal is achieveable this year and we hope to be using the vessel late this year,” he said.

VESSEL: This current North Stradbroke 1 vessel has been operational for 18 years and VMR North Stradbroke is hoping for a new vessel this year.  At the helm is secretary Colin Haigh with president Gordon McInnes at the stern.

VESSEL: This current North Stradbroke 1 vessel has been operational for 18 years and VMR North Stradbroke is hoping for a new vessel this year. At the helm is secretary Colin Haigh with president Gordon McInnes at the stern.

The current vessel is 9m with two 250hp motors.

Mr Dunn said North Stradbroke 1’s first medivac was to take Mary Morse to hospital to deliver her baby, Nicholas, now aged 18. 

In 2017, the group performed 122 medivacs, with 130 in 2016.  On January 6, it had already performed five medivacs and one tow. VMR North Stradbroke Island is manned by a voluntary crew of 20 which is rostered so there is always someone on call.

President Gordon McInnes said the island had a small population from which to draw volunteers but numbers on the island swelled dramatically during school holiday periods.

“This is an isolated community and boating is a major part of the island’s ethos.  The VMR provides an affordable service to this community,”

“We have been lucky that we have had the mine as a major sponsor.  This has kept us going.  Now we have to look at other ways,” Mr McInnes said.

Anyone able to donate can do so directly on Marine Rescue North Stradbroke Island, bsb 064138, account number 1067 5726.