A PLEASANT boating trip in Port Stephens on Sunday, 21 January turned sour for local boat owner, Scott Symonds.
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On return to his mooring in Tea Gardens, he noticed the bilge pumps were running constantly on his vessel, Palamuna.
On investigation, he found a major leak beyond the capacity of the pumps.
Palamuna is a beautiful, old AG Williams vessel designed and built in 1962, made of Canadian oregon.
It is an excellent example of a classic wooden boat that would present well at any wooden boat festival.
On assessing the gravity of the situation, Scott immediately contacted other members of the Tea Gardens Slipway Association for their assistance in getting his vessel on the slipway and out of the river.
However, there was another problem that confronted Scott – the slipway was already occupied by another vessel.
Members of the slipway committee saw to the hasty removal of the other vessel to allow the damaged Palamuna to be slipped on Tea Gardens’ community slipway.
Because of the low tide, it took some hours before Palamuna was winched clear of the Myall River, the operation concluding at 11 pm Sunday night.
This highlights the necessity and advantage of maintaining a fully functional slipway in Tea Gardens.
Scott said, “Even if I was able to arrange emergency slipping in Nelson Bay, I very much doubt that I could
have completed the passage.”
If it was not for the remarkable response of Tea Gardens Slipway members, the outcome could have been much worse considering the vessel carries over 800 litres of diesel.
It is worth noting that the Tea Gardens Slipway Association is planning major works to further enhance its environmental compliance and a development application has been lodged with MidCoast Council for this work.