Running out of fuel most common problem

RECREATIONAL boaters are towed in far too often because they have run out of fuel, according to Volunteer Marine Rescue.

VMR chief controller Jim Purcell said they had 42 callouts in the last five months and patrol officers were amazed at the lack of awareness of some boaters.

Mr Purcell said between January 1 and June 1 this year the VMR received 42 activations ? 30 for breakdowns and at least six due to people running out of fuel.

VMR publicity officer Michael Mann said the number of people running out of fuel should be something easily corrected. "It's a reasonable amount of people running out of fuel,'' Mr Mann said.

"I don't think anyone goes out with the intention of running out of fuel but some are repeat offenders.

"We try and pass on some information to them.'' However Mr Mann said call outs simply due to a lack of awareness tied up crews and resources.

"It means we have to activate one of the crews,'' Mr Mann said.

"That's usually a skipper and three members, get the boat ready, find them, take fuel out to them or a battery. More importantly, a simple mistake like not taking into account weather or how much fuel is needed could lead to something worse.

"If they were in one of the shipping lanes that would be a concern,'' Mr Mann said.

"What is more likely is if they run out at the north entrance to the harbour - that can be terribly rough and they could capsize... they're at the mercy of the winds and waves.''

Fortunately the figures only show two boats have sunk in the last five months although in 2004 VMR recorded five boats sunk, four groundings and 68 breakdowns.



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