TeamTalk backs sailors in bout with whale

Customer News | 29.07.10

TeamTalk backs sailors in bout with whaleWhen things go wrong at sea, a reliable means of communication can save lives. This is a lesson Canterbury Marine Communications (CMC) has learnt firsthand.

CMC is a volunteer organisation whose main role is to provide better marine coverage in the Canterbury area. “We provide and maintain communications between onshore centres and offshore vessels up and down the South Island,” says Callum Jones, President of Canterbury Marine Communications. “We monitor different channels and keep in touch with the vessels to ensure they are being monitored.”

You can never be too cautious when it comes to safety on the high seas, so CMC has a radio lending system in place for boaties so they can make contact whenever they need to, using TeamTalk’s FleetLink mobile radios.

“We maintain a fleet of mobile radios in waterproof Pelican cases designed to float,” explains Callum. “The radios are also equipped with long-life batteries so they will work when they’re needed. When a vessel travels around the South Island, we put one of our radios onboard before they set off and collect it again when they’ve reached their destination.” The importance of this system was proved on Friday 18 June, when the 18m yacht ‘Marguerite’ hit what they believe to be a whale, causing significant damage to the rudder. Two members of the crew sustained injuries from the resulting lurch from the impact, the skipper spraining his wrist and a female crew member being pierced in the backside by a large fishing lure. (Ouch.)

“The ‘Marguerite’ then lost power to its VHF radio after a powerful wave caused water damage to all the electrics, and the crew discovered they were well out of cellphone coverage,” says Callum. “The FleetLink radio was their only means of communication that was working and had coverage.”

Spending a cold, uncomfortable night at sea, the crew stayed in contact with the Maritime New Zealand Rescue Coordination Centre with their trusty FleetLink radio. Around 7am in the morning they made contact to say they had lost steering and were picked up by Kaikoura Rescue.

“The skipper and crew were very grateful for TeamTalk’s huge coverage. As a supplier we find them very good to deal with and have many more vessels interested in taking up our lending service.”