Sailor slammed by VMR Western Australia after “needless” search

VMRs from Fremantle to Carnarvon were put on high alert on Monday due to a yacht that was reported overdue. It had departed Rottnest Island last Thursday en route to Exmouth via the Abrolhos Islands but had not been heard from since.

Concerns had been raised on Sunday when a relative contacted Geraldton VMR. Without many details to go on the Radio Operator advised the caller to contact the Police.

When it became obvious that the matter had not been resolved next morning, Geraldton VMR contacted the Police to enquire if a report had been made and also passed on the details of the original caller.

After further investigations it was established that the vessel was indeed overdue, and so at 14:20, Fremantle Water Police tasked VMRs from Lancelin to Carnarvon to put out “all station” radio calls every 30 minutes seeking information from any vessel that had seen or been contacted by the yacht in question.

The yacht was subsequently located at the Abrolhos Islands by a Fisheries Department patrol vessel and at 16:00 on Monday evening the VMR’s involved were stood down and a major air and sea search was avoided.

All this effort could have been avoided had a trip plan been lodged with Marine Rescue and a radio call to Geraldton VMR been made advising safe arrival.

Mariners are encouraged to make use of the VMR Transiting Vessel procedure and the DFES VHF Marine Radio Repeater Network.

For further details go to the VMRWA website at

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