WARRNAMBOOL Coast Guard commander Adrian Calderwood doesn’t pretend to be an “old salt.”
A former school principal, Mr Calderwood said his involvement in the Coast Guard had taught him not to take his six-metre ski-boat out on the open sea.
“You have to be well-prepared to go out on the open sea,” he said.
When Mr Calderwood goes out to sea, it’s in the Warrnambool Coast Guard’s CG, an 11.9-metre aluminium monohull powered by two 750hp Cummins diesel engines.
He said some of the recreational anglers chasing big tuna off the south-west coast provided examples of poor preparation for the open sea.
They comprised about half of the 10 emergencies that the Warrnambool Coast Guard attended in the 2011-12 season.
“Often they misjudge how much fuel they need,” Mr Calderwood said.
“One angler was 27 miles out to sea when he ran out of fuel. He only had a mobile phone for communication.
“When he tossed out the anchor, he had not tied it on so he lost it.”
The Warrnambool Coast Guard is recruiting new volunteers to ensure it can continue to assist people on the water during the coming summer.
The flotilla provides a rescue service to the Warrnambool/Port Fairy area with a working range of 200 kilometres.
It operates from new premises in a tower attached to the Harbour Pavilion near the Warrnambool breakwater and monitors radio traffic on VHF, HF and 27meg.
Mr Calderwood said the Coast Guard was seeking people with coxswain and skipper qualifications who it could fast track to skipper the Warrnambool Coast Guard vessel.
It would also train people without qualifications.
“There is a great opportunity to learn a range of marine skills including seamanship, boat handling, radio operations, marine fire-fighting, navigation and first aid.
“It is not onerous.
“We can tailor our training to suit the availability of volunteers.”
He said Coast Guard volunteers came from a variety of backgrounds.
“We are open to new members 18 years and over. There is also an ongoing need for radio operators to maintain a listening watch.”
People interested can contact 5561 2625.