Boaters rescued at Tuross, Mallacoota

FIRST RESPONSE: The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter was on the scene at Tuross first and conducted a search of the area.
FIRST RESPONSE: The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter was on the scene at Tuross first and conducted a search of the area.

A MAN has had a lucky escape after his small tinnie capsized in extreme surf at Tuross Head on Monday morning.

The boat overturned just before 9am and emergency services were called.

The Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter was on the scene first and conducted a search of the area and located the male and his boat on the shore on the southern side of the lake entrance.

A short time later A Rescue Watercraft from Broulee, Moruya lifesavers and Tuross Marine Rescue were on the water and they confirmed the man was safe and well.

Rescuers say he was cold, but was otherwise unharmed.

Surf Life Saving duty officer Andrew Edmunds said it was a lucky escape given the large surf conditions.

“Conditions were so big, we had to launch our rescue craft at Tuross, instead of travelling by water from Broulee,” he said.

“Fortunately the man wasn’t injured, but it does serve as a reminder to follow safety warnings in dangerous conditions.”

Mr Edmunds said Monday’s incident was the 56th on the Far South Coast, and that the branch was now on par with Sydney Branch as the second highest hotspot for emergency incidents in NSW.

The Far North Coast tops the state tally with just one more incident (at 57).

Marine Rescue assist in rescue at remote beach

A HUSBAND and wife from a stricken sailing catamaran that had struggled through heavy seas to run aground on a remote part of the Victorian Coast were flown to safety by helicopter last night in a joint rescue operation involving Marine Rescue NSW, Victorian Police and a merchant ship.

Marine Rescue Eden received an urgent radio call late yesterday afternoon from merchant ship Kota Jaffa (sic) acting as a relay for the catamaran, floundering south of Eden near Wingan Inlet in Victoria.

The catamaran had been broadcasting emergency calls on Channel 16 since 4am Sunday but received no response.

The stricken vessel’s position had prevented its direct transmissions being received by either of the two nearest Victorian Volunteer Coast Guard radio stations at Mallacoota and Paynesville.

When alerted by the merchant ship, Marine Rescue Eden contacted NSW Police Force Marine Area Command in Sydney, which contacted Victorian Water Police.

Marine Rescue Eden, relaying through the merchant ship, then made contact with the catamaran on Channel 81, a VHF repeater channel on Mt Imlay near Eden, to reassure the couple that help was on the way. Gabo Island Lighthouse also was alerted to the emergency and monitored the channel as well.

With the vessel in an inaccessible part of the coastline and out of mobile telephone range, the couple also asked Marine Rescue Eden to alert relatives and friends awaiting the vessel’s arrival in Eden.

A member of Victorian Police from Mallacoota reached the pair after a lengthy drive followed by an hour’s hike to the coast. Victorian Water Police coordinated a helicopter rescue flight to the nearby beach and the catamaran was secured for later recovery.

Coast Guard Melbourne and the Victorian Water Police thanked Marine Rescue Eden for its prompt assistance.

The success in using the repeater Channel 81 to contact the yacht and its crew demonstrates the lifesaving value of knowing the location of repeater stations and using a repeater channel to communicate in areas where conditions prevent reception of VHF Channel 16.

Marine Rescue NSW meanwhile has marked 2012 National Volunteer Week by announcing the establishment of the Marine Rescue NSW Volunteer Education Scholarship.

Commissioner Stacey Tannos said a number of scholarships - worth a total of $10,000 - would be awarded to help the service’s members to undertake professional development to assist them in their volunteering roles.

MRNSW has more than 3,000 volunteers in 45 units along the coastline from Point Danger to Eden, all of whom play a significant role in improving boating safety, whether as rescue vessel crew members, radio operators, fundraisers or in administration, training or community engagement.

MRNSW members can find details of the scholarship at www.marinerescuensw.com.au and applications close on July 1.

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