VMR Mackay

About VMR Mackay

VMR 448 Mackay has been in operation since 1965. Originally formed under the name of Mackay Air & Sea Rescue, we are now officially called ‘Volunteer Marine Rescue Mackay Inc.’ We operate as a not-for-profit organisation and are registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit commission.

Volunteers contribute to 100% of our operation. This includes rescue vessel crews and skippers, radio room operators, administration, training and assessment, maintenance and management committee roles. We offer in house training to our rescue vessel crews and radio operators.

We offer a membership program to help support VMR 448 Mackay operations. To find out more about membership visit our website. You can join, renew and make payment online or show interest in volunteering.

Financially we rely on membership fees, activation cost recovery, sponsorships, government grants, donations and fundraising activities to sustain our operation.

Our base is open 7 days a week, located next to the boat ramp in the Mackay Marina. Come in and have a chat and see what we are about. We also have available information on recreational boating activities and GBRMPA zone maps.

Operational Information

VMR 448 Mackay’s main operations are from the squadrons base located near the boat ramp at the Mackay Marina. This contains our boat shed, training facilities, radio monitoring room, administration facilities, skipper’s office and incident management room.

We operate 3 different vessels;

  1. A 2008 11.2m, Composite Mono Steber Craft, powered by 2x 355hp Cummins Diesel Inboard engines, 2B Survey, 1350L fuel capacity, with a top speed of 27 knots.
  2. A 2014 8.5m Woody Marine Aluminium Mono RIB, powered by 2x 300hp Suzuki Outboards, 2C Survey, 630L fuel capacity, with a top speed of 47knots
  3. A 1995 6.5m Swift Craft Aluminium Mono RIB, powered by 2x 90hp Suzuki Outboards, 2C Survey, 200L fuel capacity, with a top speed of 36knots.

Our skippers and vessels are available 24/7 for emergency and waterside assistance activations.

We offer search and rescue operations, co-ordinated by the Whitsunday Water Police, waterside assistance for members and non-members for breakdowns, fuel problems, groundings etc. We assist the QAS, QFES, Mackay Airport Fire and Rescue, CQ RACQ Rescue Helicopter and the SES in various activations for emergency situations and training purposes. We also help other community groups and events like the Ocean Racing Series and Outrigger carnivals.

Our radio monitoring room is open from 8:03am to 18:03pm daily, 365 days per year. Our call sign is VMR 448. We are always listening to our VHF and HF channels. We offer a free voyage logging service for all vessel’s. After hours, VTS Hay Point monitor emergency VHF channels 16 and 67. Channel 21 and 80 are operated and maintained by our organisation with VHF repeaters on Brampton Island (21) in the northern area and Knight Island (80) in the southern area.

Our operational area extends seaward from the Mackay Marina, north to Cape Conway and Shaw Island in a straight-line east to the inner reefs, then south to Carmila in a straight line to the Percy Group of Islands, then extending in an arc, with a radius of approx. 120Nm. This includes covering all islands and the inner to middle reef of the Great Barrier Reef within the northern and southern boundaries. We also cover all the inshore creeks within this area if they have boat ramp and tidal access.

Primarily, most activations depart from the Mackay Marina. We do have towing capability for our smaller vessels to tow to boat ramps within the region to improve response times and safety of the crew, dependant on the sea conditions.