30 November 2022

Beagle and boaters rescued from river as Marine Rescue issues summertime warning

| Claire Fenwicke
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Yashi the beagle potentially contemplating a holiday on dry land after being rescued from his boat on the Clyde River. Photo: NSW SES.

Water lovers and holidaymakers alike have been urged to make sure their vessels are ship-shape as the Christmas season approaches.

Some recent rescues on the South Coast have highlighted just how careful boaters need to be when heading out on the water this summer.

It was a ‘ruff’ start to an early summer holiday for Yashi the beagle and his owners, who needed rescuing from the Clyde River at Nelligen after their boat ran aground about one kilometre downstream of Shallow Crossing at the weekend.

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The Batemans Bay SES unit retrieved the stranded trio, with the tide a potential factor in the incident.

Unit commander Kevin Shepherd said it was very lucky the trio’s boat stopped where it did, as they just had enough phone reception to call for help.

“Where they were originally, they had limited service but were able to call triple zero, but where they ended up had zero phone service at all,” he said.

“We were able to visibly see where they were on the river, but if the boat had been further up, we wouldn’t have been able to see it.”

The boat suffered significant damage on the bottom, along with a motor leak, so the volunteers moored the boat to an island and took Yashi and his owners back to Nelligen.

The SES was able to retrieve the vessel the next day thanks to higher water.

It follows an incident earlier in the month (25 November) in which two young men needed to be rescued after their inflatable boat was blown out to sea by offshore winds at Mossy Point.

A friend tried to get to them on a stand-up paddleboard but the winds were too strong.

The Moruya Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter was called in to winch the pair to safety, while their friend was picked up by members of the Surf Lifesaving Far South Coast team.

Marine Rescue NSW has urged local and visiting boaters to ensure both they and their vessel are ready for the busy summer ahead.

According to statistics, summer is the busiest time for Marine Rescue’s six South Coast units, with 83 rescues performed from December to February last year – that’s 38 per cent of the yearly total.

A spokesperson said a third of these rescues were conducted in “life-endangering” situations.

“During summer conditions on the South Coast can be treacherous for the poorly prepared, with strong afternoon sea breezes, southerly-busters, severe storms, and large waves, with even the most experienced boaters urged to undertake a few simple actions to prepare themselves and their vessel before they head out,” they said.

“With many coastal bars on the South Coast, knowing how to cross them safely is an essential skill for boaters intending to head offshore. Boaters should first check local bar conditions with their nearest Marine Rescue NSW base on VHF channel 16, and avoid heading out in large swells, rough weather or on an ebb tide.”

About half of all calls to South Coast Marine Rescue units are for engine failure, flat batteries and running out of fuel, with boaters reminded to make sure their vessels have been serviced, batteries tested and tanks full before heading out.

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Marine Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Operations Alex Barrell said boaters also needed to make sure everyone on board was wearing a lifejacket (including pets), follow navigation and boating rules, and carry and know how to use necessary safety equipment.

“As the skipper you are responsible for lives of everyone onboard, not just your own, so this summer make sure to get prepared and to play it safe so you and your passengers come home in one piece,” he said.

You can log your trip with Marine Rescue on VHF channel 16 or via the Marine Rescue NSW app.

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