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Extra funding helps Marine Rescue Cottage Point prevent serious fire

'CP 20 towing saved vessel home'    Marine Rescue NSW    Click Here to view large photo

Increased funding provided through the NSW government to Marine Rescue, as NSW’s unified volunteer marine rescue organisation, has seen extra safety patrols conducted by Marine Rescue volunteers on the State’s coast. This has significantly increased the safety footprint provided by Marine Rescue NSW and certainly paid off for one family helped last Saturday by Marine Rescue Cottage Point.

The morning of Saturday 27th August was relatively normal for the MR Cottage Point Duty Team. They had towed one vessel back to safety after an engine breakdown and attended a grounded vessel at Brooklyn in the morning before returning for a late lunch at the base.

Although a little short handed with two members away with work commitments, Skipper David White with crew of Will Symons and Rob Macpherson were supported by the attendance of Rob’s dog 'Jet', who took to his honorary crewman duties with great eagerness, especially at lunch time.

An extra afternoon patrol in rescue vessel Cottage Point 20 (CP 20) was commenced and while steaming past Flint and Steel Point the crew observed a large recreational vessel heading in the opposite direction in obvious difficulty. At a distance of 200 yards away a cloud of smoke began pouring out of the vessel’s cabin and its path became even more erratic.

CP20 immediately raced to the scene and was alongside in under a minute. By this time the vessel cabin was engulfed in dense smoke and the frightened passengers, a mother and two teenage daughters, were about to abandon ship in fear for their lives. They were quickly evacuated to the safety of CP20 and MR Commander David White joined the vessel skipper, Adrian, in search of the smoke source.

Vessel power was isolated and with fire extinguisher ready, the engine room hatch was opened. The source soon became evident. A cooling system line had failed, spilling all the engine coolant onto the hot exhaust. The starboard engine had consequently overheated and was smoking badly. The combination of the burning paint from the engine and the steaming glycol coolant had caused the dense smoke and steam – but fortunately had not caused a fire.

With the engine hatch fully opened the smoke and steam was fully vented after about 30 minutes and the vessel deemed safe. CP20 then took the 19 tonne, 42’ vessel in tow for the seven mile passage to its mooring at Scotland Island. The skipper and his wife were very happy to be back onboard for the return trip, but the two teenagers insisted on remaining on the safety of CP20 in the company of 'Jet the sea dog' who kept the girls amused and happy with his repertoire of clever tricks and tail wagging.

This was only the third outing for the immaculate Maxum 42’ Sports Cruiser which had only just arrived from the USA. While the repair bill to rectify the engine damage is likely to be high, Skipper Adrian and his family were just thrilled and appreciative to be safely home after their traumatic experience.

Although luck certainly played a part in CP20 being in the right place at the right time, the extra safety patrol made the most important difference for this family

Marine Rescue NSW website

by Ken McManus


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8:55 AM Sun 28 Aug 2011 GMT

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