Third CYCA Solas Trusts grant to Australian Volunteer Coast Guard

CYCA Solas Trusts Chairman Matt Allen presents Steve Fleming, Commander AVCG Brisbane, with the third grant cheque.
Allen Penman
CYCA Solas Trusts has provided a third grant to Australian Volunteer Coast Guard (AVCG) Brisbane for $24,147 to purchase a thermal imaging camera for use in offshore search and rescue missions and a new satellite phone communication system.

AVCG Brisbane Commander Steve Fleming said the equipment would improve the AVCG facilities, and are imperative tools for marine rescue and the safety of AVCG crews.

Some of the primary functions of the AVCG Brisbane are: search and rescue (SAR) tasks coordinated by the Queensland Police Service; maritime education of the public and vessel crews; education of the boating (non-commercial) public by providing lectures, training and advice; on water assistance, towing, and clearing disabled vessels; and clearance of vessels from shipping channels before they become a safety hazard.

Brisbane Coast Guard has responded to 384 calls for assistance in the last year and 19 of these where Search and Rescue Missions.

'Recently our major incident vessel responded to a call for help approx. 100kms offshore from the Gold Coast where the vessel 'One Day' a yacht transiting from New Zealand to Australia was in distress, with no engine power after mechanical issues and a full set of sails shredded,' Commander Fleming said

'The lone yachtsman was drifting at the mercy of Mother Nature, his food was depleted and he had not eaten for five days. At this point he activated his EPIRB and subsequently The Brisbane Coast Guard responded. After making the 52 nautical mile trip to the Gold Coast and then transiting 50 nautical miles out to sea, they located the person passed over food and continued the task with a long tow back to the Gold Coast Australia. The total trip had taken 26hours from departure to return.'

'Additionally, the Thermal Imaging Camera that Brisbane Coast Guard was able to be purchased with funds from a previous CYCA Solas trusts was successful in locating two teenagers missing in smoke and night mist as well as three persons missing on a PWC (jet ski). This valuable piece of equipment has certainly been used and a proven life saver at Brisbane Coast Guard,' Fleming added.

CYCA Solas Trusts Chairman Matt Allen announced the funding, which follows on from the $6,000 provided in 2008 for the re-wiring of the main rescue vessel CG1 and a further $25,720 to purchase crew Personal Locater Beacons and a thermal imaging camera for use in offshore search and rescue missions in 2013.

'The CYCA Solas Trusts is pleased to provide the funding for these vital SAR tools. We trust this will allow Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Brisbane Flotilla the opportunity to continue to provide the important service the organization provides to the community,' Chairman Allen said.

'The CYCA Solas Trusts continues to actively contribute to key volunteer marine, search and rescue organizations Australia-wide,' Allen said.

The CYCA Sydney Hobart Yacht Race Safety of Life at Sea Trusts (Solas) was set up as a charitable trust in 1999 as a result of the tragic events of the 1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. The CYCA Solas Trusts objectives are to:

• Provide assistance (financial and other) to immediate families of those lost at sea during Yachting Australia sanctioned races
• Make donations and provide support to search and rescue organisations
• Foster and fund research and training to improve safety and rescue procedures and equipment used in ocean races.

Since they were established in 1998 following the loss of life in the Sydney Hobart Yacht Race that year, the Trusts have donated more than $920,000 to organisations Australia-wide and the Trusts continues to explore new organisations to support.