Ben Ferris on pedal board off the Gold Coast
Ben Ferris on pedal board off the Gold Coast contributed

Fine weather and strange vessels keep the Coast Guard busy

CENTRAL Queensland boaties took to the water in numbers as the wind finally eased and seas seas were low early last week.

However, the busy waterways meant the Yeppoon Coast Guard were put to work with four call-outs and one false alarm in the last week, three of which took place in quick succession on Monday.

The first to require assistance was an 18 foot Shark Cat which ran out of fuel between Miall Island and North Keppel Island while returning home around midday last Monday.

Marine Assistance Rescue with Skipper Barry Semple at the wheel delivered 20 litres of fuel to the marooned vessel which returned to port at 2:45pm.

However, Barry's Monday was not finished with the safe return of the Shark Cat as a five metre Quintrex called for help after breaking down on the eastern side of Great Keppel Island.

Marine Assist Rescue left port at 3:10 pm to aid the stranded Quintrex and arrived at the scene 45 minutes later to tow the vessel back to the harbour.

Shortly after that operation was completed a Marine Assist contributor in a five metre power boat ran out of fuel and fell just short of Rosslyn Bay Harbour. Barry was once again summoned in the Marine Assist Rescue headed out at 5:35pm and towed the boat into the harbour at 6:00 pm.

It was a quiet Tuesday morning for the Yeppoon Coastguard until 3:40pm when an 8.2 metre Stingray broke down just offshore from the Capricorn Resort.

Marine Assist Rescue departed Rosslyn Bay at 4.10 pm and arrived back at port towing the Stingray at 5:30pm.

Coast Guard operators were expecting a quiet Saturday as forecasted weather was set to keep boaties ashore, however two odd calls kept the crew busy on an otherwise quiet day on the waterways.

The first was a reported capsized kite surfer, who had been unable to reach the shore unaided. However the call had been made from a person in the Wide Bay region after 'googling' the wrong coast guard number.

The second, and more peculiar call was fielded from pedal boarder, Ben Ferris, alerting the coastguard of his arrival to Emu Park after spending the night camped on the mouth of the Fitzroy.

However, at 4:00pm he called again to report that the cords connecting his pedals to the underwater propulsion had broken three nautical miles offshore and eight nautical miles south of Keppel Sands.

Mr Ferris called again soon afterwards to report that he had found a spare cord in his bags and was attempting to fit it.

Due to the overcast conditions and fading light, plans were made for a rescue operation with Coast Guard Yeppoon as a vessel was prepared and a crew was called in.

At 4:20 pm, Marine Assist Rescue skippered by James Fleming departed Rosslyn Bay and headed south while the crew at Keppel Sands prepared to launch CHSS Rescue.

At 4:45pm Mr Ferris was contacted by mobile phone and he reported that he was under way and would head towards the shore of Keppel Sands and did not need assistance despite the approaching darkness.

Marine Assist Rescue was recalled and the Keppel Sands crew stood down.

Mr Ferris was later contacted again and he advised that he had reached shore south of Keppel Sands and was preparing to camp for the night.

The pedal boarder is currently on a mammoth fund-raising voyage from the Gold Coast to Cairns.