Akuna Bay Cruising Club

Commodore's Message - Spring 2008

Thursday 23 October, 2008

Hello all and welcome to the 2008/2009 boating season. The Cruising Club is off to another good start. The New Member's night at Zac's Café on the marina was a beauty, with Wendi Jackson singing us into a dancing frenzy. Then the trip to Iguana Joe's at Gosford (as reported in the Club News) was a great weekend, despite the weather.

Please check the coming events calendar as there are some first class events coming up.

We are organising New Year's Eve event at the RMYC Newport. So far we have about half the places for boats subscribed, and Jeff will be contacting you shortly about booking a berth for the night. A few of us attended this event last year and a had a great time enjoying the hospitality of the RMYC, some of our families traveled with us by boat and some chose to drive. If you are at loose end for New Year's Eve, then please come along and join in.

We have many Club Members who enjoy rafting up, but many who have never done it. If you are nervous about rafting up, feel free to contact one of the committee who would be delighted to instruct you on the simple procedures involved. Remember we all had to carry out this manoeuvre for the first time once.
I also occasionally receive requests for training courses. We have in the past few years held radio courses and many of the club members are now licensed radio operators. If you are unsure of the correct procedure contact a committee member and they can arrange a short lesson.

We also held a First Aid course, and the club will attempt to orgainse one of these courses every three years so that we remain current. In addition we recently held an annual revision of the Resuscitation module so that we can remain current with this important part of boating skill.

More recently, several of our members completed a basic navigation course. Many wonder why, but it was was a great learning experience. We had fun and we improved our boating knowledge, we can now find Refuge Bay easily and it also gave us a good excuse to share a Pizza or seven after the classes.

Further on the radio situation, many of the more modern VHF sets have a "Distress" button on the face. Many people are of the belief that this will summon instant help, which may not necessarily be the case. Some of the sales people selling these radios do not know the regulations. Each of these radios needs to be registered with the Marine Safety Authority in Canberra. To register you will need a radio license (MROCP). Once you are registered you will receive an MMSI number which is loaded into your set, which is unique to you and your boat. Once you activate the distress button it then transmits your MMSI number and your GPS position (if hooked up) to the Marine rescue authority.

I have one of the new EPIRB's of the type that have to be registered with the Marine Safety Authority. I registered this with a lot of fuss at the time of purchase. Just recently I was sent a letter and a renewable registration sticker for the device. Check your set to see if it a current model and still supported and if so make sure it is registered.

There are also changes afoot over the Volunteer Rescue Associations system which is currently run by three separate organisations (VMRs), these being, the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard, the Volunteer Rescue Association and the Royal Volunteer Coastal Patrol.
There is a white paper out that proposes that these three be re formed into one common statewide system to be known as the NSW Volunteer Marine Rescue Group. This is surely a good move as it should concentrate the resources and hopefully provide a more coherent system. I'll keep you posted on this one. If travelling offshore between ports it is best to simply call the VRA, not the individual organisation name. I was given this advice on a trip to Port Stephens where it is not clear who to call.

Also a reminder that the Club WebSite is kept pretty much up to date with Club events and news, but a recent update of the photo album makes it much more 'user friendly' and features plenty of great photos of Club events and Club personalities. Check it out.
Also remember that contributions and photos are always welcome (email to: kmturner@bigpond.net.au)

Have a good time on the water and call us up when you are out and about.
Our call sign is "Wilparina" or ENB929.

Stephen Smith
Commodore.