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A platinum promise for Volunteer Marine Rescue Whitsundays

Coral Sea Marina has committed to another three years as the platinum sponsor of Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) Whitsundays. With domestic boat sales at record levels and plenty of new vessel owners exploring the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef for the first time, the communities need for marine rescue services is at an all-time high.

VMR Whitsundays have seen a steady rise in the number of activations over the last few years and last year marked the highest number on record for the organisation, with a total of 173 assistance requests made including a significant 116% increase in vessel breakdowns from the previous year.

Joscelyn O’Keefe, Head of Marketing & Business Development at Coral Sea Marina explains of the sponsorship agreement, “The work done by this incredible group of volunteers is vital. Their dedicated service ensures that the boating community can explore the Whitsunday waterways safely and with peace of mind.”

“As the largest marina in the region, we are committed to supporting safe boating practices and encouraging both recreational and commercial boat owners to be prepared for the unexpected when they are at sea. Our ongoing support of the VMR Whitsundays forms part of our commitment to our marina guests, commercial operators and the local boating community providing the help required in unexpected maritime situations.”

It is through fundraising, membership fees, and sponsorship that the VMR Whitsundays can continue to provide its essential services to the region’s boating public. With both the VMR vessels conveniently berthed at Coral Sea Marina, the team of volunteers are able to activate both quickly and efficiently when the call for help is received.

The team of over 50 dedicated and experienced volunteers provides assistance 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, to the Whitsunday boating community – someone is always on call ready to activate.

“To have our Platinum Sponsor, Coral Sea Marina, renew their sponsorship for another three years is incredible news for both the VMR Whitsundays and the boating community”, explains Paul Martin, President of the VMR Whitsundays.

“The support means the absolute world to us here, to have such a strong supporter in Paul Darrouzet and his team. Knowing our operations can continue as they have done from our home here at the marina for another three years gives us real peace of mind.”

VMR Whitsundays respond to a range of calls for assistance such as search and rescue, medical evacuations and tow assists. They also regularly assist all the emergency services in on-water situations and provide additional support for emergency services in the island communities.

Last month alone, the volunteers at VMR Whitsundays assisted a vessel with engine failure, supported a vessel that had run aground, towed various boats that had run out of fuel, medically evacuated people from boats, islands and beaches, launched a search and rescue for a man overboard and provided assistance in fighting a raging boat fire. The breadth of their services is astounding, as are the number of calls they receive from non-members.

Mr Martin explains, “We actively encourage all boat owners in the region to become members of the VMR Whitsundays. For a small annual fee, membership gives you peace of mind should anything happen to you or your vessel whilst you are out on the water.’

Becoming a member of the VMR Whitsundays is simple and you can do it via their website. Annual membership is $110 and will greatly assist with the financial costs involved should you require assistance at sea. Whilst membership is recommended, VMR Whitsundays assistance is available without membership, but additional fees will apply.

Safe boating is a priority for both these partner organisations as Ms O’Keefe further explains “To promote safe boating practices Coral Sea Marina offers a series of Better Boating training events, delivered in conjunction with VMR Whitsundays and Mainstay Sailing. These sessions provide simple, useful tips on how to enjoy boating more safely. We would encourage anyone to come along who has a keen interest in boating, who owns a boat or who is looking at future boat ownership to register for one of the sessions – they are free and open to all ages and skill levels.

Upcoming sessions in the marina’s Better Boating Series include Tender Time, Radio 101 and Basic Navigation. All training is provided through the Coral Sea Academy. Visit to register interest in any of these events.

For information on membership of VMR Whitsundays, visit 

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