Bribie Island Volunteer Marine Rescue, one of the Moreton Bay Region’s essential services, started in a very different guise – as a community club.
The unit, based at Marine Pde, Bellara, evolved from Bribie Island Boating and Fishing Club, which in 1970 took on the task of helping “mariners in destress”.
Twelve years later it became Bribie Island Air Sea Rescue and in 1997 changed again to VMR (Volunteer Marine Rescue) Bribie Island Inc.
Under those three names, the organisation has been helping those on and in the water for more than 50 years, answering countless calls for help and rescue.
Staffed entirely by volunteers, the unit’s “primary purpose is the safety and preservation of life at sea”.
Crews were called into action recently when a yacht lost its mast six nautical miles off Cape Moreton and activated an emergency beacon at midnight.
VMR Bribie sent its biggest rescue vessel in 30-knot winds and heavy two-metre seas to bring the yacht back to Bribie under a slow tow.
The operation took a total of seven hours. Video on VMR Bribie Island’s Facebook page shows the challenges crew members faced.
It was just the latest example of VMR Bribie Island’s dedication to covering a 500 square mile area stretching from just south of Caloundra Bar to 10 nautical miles off Moreton Island and north of a line east/west of Tangalooma.
Every minute of every day, 365 days a year, the volunteers are on the water (every weekend and public holiday 7am-5pm) or are part of rosters for their 24/7 service.
The unit’s vessels are Bribie One - 11.5m long, can reach 40 knots and carry up to 10 people; Bribie Two - 7.2m long, maximum speed of 50 knots and carry eight people; Bribie Three -5.5m long, top speed 42 knots and can also carry eight.
VMR Bribie Island also promotes boating safety among members (who can join online and receive benefits) and the public, through training and education programs.
It is affiliated to VMR Queensland, “takes direction” from the water police and assist all other emergency services with evacuations, searches, rescues and medivacs.
Subsidies are received from the state government and Moreton Bay Regional Council, but most funds are generated by members and the community.
VMR Bribie Island’s radio room operates all year round, seven days a week from 5am-6pm on 27MHZ Channels 86,88,90, and on VHF Channel 16,21,67,73,81.
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