Coastguard looks for volunteers

PETER Gracie volunteers his time to help save people.

Mr Gracie, 65, is the Deputy Flotilla Commander of Yeppoon Coastguard and one of about 60 people, including his wife Lorraine, 64, who volunteer to help people in trouble on the water.

It's a job Mr Gracie describes as being rewarding, but would like to see more people doing.

"It's not just Yeppoon who need more volunteers, Rockhampton, Stanage Bay and Keppel Sands are all in the same boat.''

Keppel Sands Coastguard Flotilla Commander Darryl Prizeman said volunteer numbers had started to get desperate.

"We are down to about 12 members,'' he said.

"Probably in the past 12 months we've been involved in assisting about 50 vessels,'' he said.

Stanage Bay Coastguard Flotilla Commander Alf Nord said Coastguard volunteers were logging about 16 hours per day, seven days a week.

"We have 19 members but are pretty short of working members at the moment,'' he said.

"We're on call 24/7.

"Ideally we'd like at least another half dozen people to join.''

With an overhead running cost of about $100,000 per year, a lot of the Coastguard members' time is taken up fundraising.

"We do get assistance from the government but we also have to fundraise to help cover operational costs,'' he said.

" It takes a lot of people and a lot of work to keep these places going.

"We have people from all walks of life and we mix very well.'' For more information about Coastguard contact: Keppel Sands ? 4934?4906, Rockhampton ? 4921?2266, Thirsty Sound ? 4937?3155, Yeppoon ? 4933?6600.

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