STRANDED: VMR Round Hill responded to texts messages for help from friends of those stricken off Bustard Head yesterday.
STRANDED: VMR Round Hill responded to texts messages for help from friends of those stricken off Bustard Head yesterday.

Text messages prove stricken dinghy passenger’s salvation

TEXT messages were a stranded dinghy passenger's salvation on Sunday afternoon after the vessel ran out of fuel off the coast of Agnes Water.

VMR Round Hill's secretary of operations Josie Meng said the vessel had no functional communication equipment, so the occasional SMS was all they could base the rescue mission on.

"We got a call from their (the dinghy's crew) friends to say that they had broken down," Ms Meng said.

"Turned out they had no fuel or radio on the vessel so we just had to go and assist them."

Ms Meng said the incident was not alarming, although they did receive a second distress call while attempting to rescue the four occupants of the vessel.

"But they were able to get assistance from somewhere else so we did not have to save that one," she said.

Ms Meng said the vessel was being given a "run in" as it was new, and the occupants had only been to Bustard Head and back from Agnes Water.

"We received the call for help around 1pm but it was low tide and we could not have gone out anyway, we knew they were quite safe where they were," Ms Meng said.

"We waited for a bit more water to get over the bar so the rescue boat could get out and assist them, they left their vessel at 2.30pm."

Ms Meng issued a plea for all boaties to make sure their radios were working and to use them regularly.

"In this case we had very limited phone range, intermittent, lucky we could do text messages occasionally," she said.

"It just made it a little awkward for us, so if people could please use their radio, that is what it is there for.

"Especially in times of need … it is very important, mobile phones are a good asset but not the main thing to be relied on."



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