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Coast Guard news
News from four Coast Guard brigades around Victoria.
By Deanne Semmens and Jeremy West
On Saturday 29 August, Lake Hume Coast Guard Brigade was tasked to a boat fire on Lake Hume. The incident was managed as a combined effort between coast guard, Wodonga and Bonegilla brigades and the NSW RFS. The cause of the fire was unknown, but a small explosion occurred in the engine bay of the inboard ski boat prior to the fire starting. The boat was travelling slowly at the time, trolling for fish, when the explosion occurred. No one was injured but the uninsured boat was a write-off.
Safety Beach Coast Guard Brigade is in District 8. The brigade has 14 qualified marine responders/firefighters and the ability to call on eight more qualified marine firefighters from Dromana Fire Brigade. The current petrol fire pump on the vessel is used regularly for training drills and is due to be replaced shortly.
At the August Flotilla Meeting, the brigade was visited by Sean Kerr, CFA's Operations Officer for the Southern Peninsula. He advised that a training package is being developed and will be rolled out in the near future to all coast guard brigades. Sean will make regular visits to ensure the relationship between the district and coast guard brigade remains positive and beneficial.
When Portland Coast Guard Brigade’s first issue fire pump broke down, a replacement pump and diesel engine arrived at the CFA workshop in April 2015.
Portland Coast Guard members and CFA put their heads together to solve problems about the weight of the pump and motor. To overcome the need to lift the unit, it was built into a frame that can be used like a wheelbarrow. The unit is electric and manual start. With two 38mm lines running at 250 litres a minute, it will hit a target 25 metres away and a single line running at 350 litres a minute will reach 35 metres. The pump was developed for sea water operation with internal anodes. Preliminary testing of the unit by CFA and coast guard members is seeing great results.
Westernport Flotilla has had a busy few months. As well as helping a number of vessels, it has responded to two CFA call-outs in the last 30 days. In August, the primary vessel CG04 was responded to assist at a helicopter crash at Cannons Creek. Unfortunately, the accident occurred right at low tide which prevented CG04 from progressing up Cannons Creek due to shallow waters. However, coast guard crews were instrumental in contacting Hastings Harbor Control to get pollution booms deployed to the crash site.
Westernport Flotilla was also activated to a report of a boat fire at Hastings Marina, along with Hastings and Bittern fire brigades. After initial inspection, there was no sign of any vessel on fire. The police managed to make contact with the original reporter who informed the coast guard he had actually spotted the fire 3km directly out from Hastings. CG04 crews took to the water with a member from Hastings brigade. After a thorough search of the area immediately out from Hastings Channel, with assistance from the police airwing, crews were unable to locate any vessel in distress and returned to port.