Unlucky boatie says he’s not the only one needs rescuing
HAVING had to be rescued from a mobility scooter by local emergency services and now towed to safety on the Noosa River by Coast Guard Noosa, Sunshine Beach local Dick Howard could be forgiven for thinking he was having a bad run of late.
But by the time Mr Howard, 76, was safely back on dry land in no time at all, it was the Coast Guard crew, he decided, who are doing it the toughest.
The volunteer service locally is losing thousands of dollars in lost fundraising opportunities due to the pandemic closures.
Mr Howard hit the local news a few months back after his came a cropper while scootering by outside the Noosa Heads Ozcare, triggering a response from local nurses, ambulance and fire services to rescue himself and the upturned scooter.
This week he was out fishing with his mate Laurie Smith and their wives when their boat motor suffered gear failure at the Tewantin ferry crossing and were basically stranded.
Mr Howard said a quick SOS to the Coast Guard at Munna Point saw the crew arrive within 30 minutes.
"The lads assessed the situation and decided that all they could do was assist us back to our home base which is Noosa Pde," he said.
"To do this they made ready to raft us up along side their boat. They spent a long time so meticulously ensuring no damage occurred during the journey."
Mr Howard said during the tow back the crew opened his eyes as to how it is these dedicated rescuers who are in need of a financial bail out as they struggle to make ends meet with very little in the way of government funding.
"The poor old Coast Guard get hardly anything. I've had experience with all arms of the emergency services now except for the police, and the Coast Guard are the only ones not fully funded by government," he said.
His message to the general public is: offer some financial support to help them through the recent funding flatline.
This has been taken to heart by Coast Guard Noosa Flotilla Commander Ian Hutchings who said all fundraising ceased in March as the coronavirus shutdown hit hard, depriving them of about $20,000 of their annual $250,000 running costs.
"Normally we do a cash collection at the Tewntin car ferry over Easter and we lost that ... that probably cost us eight and a half, nine thousand dollars," Com Hutchings said.
"We haven't been able to get to the Eumundi Markets, so we're losing probably $600 a week on average.
"We've been hit hard, but on the positive side we haven't had crews here so much. We've reduced our training so our fuel bill went down a bit," he said.
However he said they are still well short of their normal funding targets.
'We're just keen to get going again, we've now got our duty crews back at our headquarters on Saturday and Sunday and we're doing our normal training and patrolling.
"Prior to this we had our crews on standby at home, so we're coming back now. The boys are happy - they're pleased that we can get back out on the water.
"The place is coming back to life now, that's the good news," Com Hutchings said.