Boaties 'risking lives' by not calling Marine Rescue

THOUSANDS of Fraser Coast boaties are risking their lives by heading out on the water without notifying Volunteer Marine Rescue.

VMR crew members are urging boaties to log on with VMR before setting out, after a fisherman was stranded on Fraser Island overnight last week because of mechanical issues.

The alarm was raised by the man's partner when he did not return from the previous day's fishing.

VMR's primary search vessel, Hervey Bay RSL Rescue, was dispatched at 9am to search for the man, believed to be near Rooney Point, about 56km north of the Urangan Marina.

Other boaties told Hervey Bay RSL Rescue the missing boat had sourced a replacement battery and it was returning to the Urangan Boat Harbour.

After the fruitless search the VMR crew also returned to the harbour, three-and-a-half hours after it left. VMR vice-commodore Jill Barclay said the search and rescue could have been avoided if the boatie had registered with the base.

"If you are going out on the water on your own, for your own safety, please log on with Marine Rescue Hervey Bay," she said.

"Consider where you are going - there was no working radio on this vessel and phone coverage at the Southern and Northern Gutters is non-existent.

"If this fisherman had logged on in the morning and not returned, and we were unable to contact him at night we would have reported him to the police.

"This would have started the chain of events some 12 hours earlier and using the infra-red technology on our vessels, Marine Rescue Hervey Bay may have been able to save him from a cool night on the water."

With the Marine Rescue Hervey Bay base staffed from 6am to 6pm every day, volunteers say there is no reason the coast's 10,000 registered boat owners are not logging on.

Boaties are encouraged to radio the VMR base to notify volunteers where they are going, how many people are on board and when their boat is expected to return.

It is estimated as few as 10% of boats log on with VMR before heading out on the water.

"We're not after your fishing spot - just a general idea of where you are so we can get you if things go wrong," base commodore John Smith added.