Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

River warning after rescue boat capsizes

Boaters are being urged to take care on the river following a rescue boat capsizing on Friday.

GEORDIE COWAN August 27, 2014 3:04am

Marine Rescue Moama’s vessel looking worse for wear this week.

Boaters on the Murray have been warned to take extreme caution after Marine Rescue Moama’s rescue vessel, Moama 20, became the latest victim of the river’s receding levels.

The vessel is now on its way back to its builder, Yamba Welding and Engineering, on the NSW North Coast for urgent repairs.

Moama unit commander Glen Carr said lowered levels in the river had become a serious danger to safe boating in the area.

‘‘Houseboat users are at risk of waking after an overnight stay in what appeared to be a safe anchorage, to find the water level has changed and they are stranded,’’ he said.

‘‘The problem can be even more dangerous if a vessel goes aground at speed.

‘‘This is a very popular waterskiing area and waters that were deep enough last week, may not be safe this week.’’

Moama 20 overturned last Friday while trying to retrieve the third stranded houseboat from the river bank in two days.

Fortunately the two volunteer Marine Rescue crew members escaped injury.

Moama 20 was recovered and returned to its trailer.

Close examination revealed damage to its onboard electronics, as well as some structural damage to fittings on the cabin roof.

‘‘In addition to the rapidly-receding water levels, many navigational hazards on inland waterways are not identified or marked,’’ Mr Carr said.

‘‘Marine Rescue urges all river users to exercise caution and avoid high speeds when operating on the Murray River in the region.

‘‘It is also vitally important for all boaters to wear life jackets.

‘‘An unexpected grounding at speed could throw people from the boat.’’

Moama 20 is expected be off the water for several weeks while undergoing repairs.

‘‘Spring is just around the corner and anticipation is high for warmer conditions and a return to boating on the river,’’ Mr Carr said.

‘‘Moama 20 will be back on the water to provide a safety watch in the Moama area for the 2014-15 boating season.

‘‘While river conditions remain as they are and Moama 20 is unavailable, we strongly caution all boaters to drive with extreme care.’’

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