Search-and-rescue mission for stranded boat an 'annoyance'
POLICE, volunteer marine rescue and RACQ CQ Rescue personnel were forced to launch a full scale search-and-rescue mission for a boat that was only 300m from its last known location.
According to Volunteer Marine Rescue, one of the passengers aboard the 26-foot boat near Penrith Island contacted his wife via text message telling her they had run out of fuel last night.
She then contacted Volunteer Marine Rescue Mackay to report it but there was no specific location reported.
Whitsunday Water Police launched a search mission this morning after there was no contact with the stranded boat.
RACQ CQ Rescue, VMR Mackay, Whitsunday Water Police and two private boats were involved in the search.
Whitsunday Water Police Sergeant Graeme Pettigrew said search operations were happening far too often because skippers were not maintaining communication with emergency services.
"We have launched a search and rescue every day for about a week and a half because people on the water are not telling anyone where they are going," Sgt Pettigrew said.
"We have even had planes from Cairns involved in the searches."
Sgt Pettigrew said unnecessary search operations tied up resources, costing thousands of dollars.
"(These rescue operations) are an annoyance and should have been nipped in the bud early (with a call)."
A CQ Rescue spokes- woman said the boat was spotted early in its search near the island, but since there were no signs of distress the crew continued searching.
VMR Mackay reached the boat and confirmed it had fuel issues and was drifting with five people onboard. It was refuelled and returned to Mackay Marina at 4pm under its own power.