‘Boaties need to use some common sense’
A BUSY marine rescue boss is calling for more common sense onwaterways after a spate of rescues and near-misses.
Hurling petrol into campfires, jetski crashes and letting children sit on the bow of boats are creating headaches for Southport Volunteer Marine Rescue crews.
Operations controller Peter Barker said crews have performed 60 jobs over the past two weeks with the volunteer organisation called to 11 incidents in just one day during the peak period.
While the rescue numbers are par for the course at the Southport VMR, he said he has been astounded with the number of close calls in the area and urged campers and boat owners to be sensible.
"People have just got to be sensible, have a bit of common sense," Mr Barker said.
It comes as the holiday period was marred by two deaths in waters surrounding South Stradbroke and a number of helicopter rescues.
Yesterday a man aged in his 20s suffered a suspected broken collar bone and a penetrating wound to his chest caused by a tree branch on South Stradbroke Island.
He was reportedly standing in the tray of a ute before the injury.
On Saturday a couple were flown to safety after falling from their jet ski in pounding surf, causing the vessel to sink 2km south of the Jumpinpin Bar.
The Westpac Surf Rescue helicopter had to fly them to shore.
On Wednesday last week, former Brisbane Roar managing director Mark Kingsman, 54, died in a jetskiing incident off South Stradbroke Island. Mr Kingsman passed after falling from his ski, possibly suffering from a medical episode.
On New Year's Eve a man in his 60s drowned after having a suspected seizure while swimming in the Broadwater.
Mr Barker said he understood getting out onto the water was part of escaping the rat race but he urged boaties to remember how far away they are from help if they get injured.
He said paramedics often need to be ferried out onto South Stradbroke Island on boats before travelling through bushland to patients.
"They just don't think, they don't realise they're in danger. They've got to realise how far away they are from help," he said.
"There have been a lot of close calls, we got through (the peak holiday period) with a minimal amount of jobs for the number of casualties there could have been.
"Some have really escaped a bullet."
Mr Barker recommended anyone going out on a boat learn first aid or CPR and said seeing parents regularly allowing their children ride on front of boats made him shudder.
"You could have racing driver reflexes and still not be able to save children from the propeller," he said.