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Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Skipper rescued after yacht swamped at Ballina bar

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A sailor has been rescued from his disabled yacht after it was swamped by a wave attempting to cross the Ballina Bar at around 3.30pm yesterday (Thursday).

The Surf Emergency Response System was activated by Police requesting assistance for a 25ft yacht taking on water near the north breakwall of the Richmond River.

The vessel had lost its mast during the trip north from Forster to Brisbane and the skipper was attempting to cross the bar at Ballina when he was swamped by a large wave.

The Ballina Jet Rescue Boat, duty officers and the Far North Coast Support Operations Group all attended the incident along with NSW Maritime and the man was brought to shore by the jet boat just after 4pm.

He was treated by paramedics and transported to hospital after ingesting some water and experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath.

State duty officer Jimmy Keough attended and said the man was lucky to have been rescued safely.

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  1. Was the yacht or the wave attempting to cross the Ballina bar? Should it not read “swamped by a wave “while” attempting to cross the Ballina bar”.

  2. I imagine the skipper knows about bar crossings and the danger inherent when attempting a crossing in an ebb tide. Recently in the news we have seen evidence of those who have purchased vessels with no real experience of the danger of heading out to sea through a bar on an ebb tide with sad consequences -when do we start to understand that the sea is very unforgiving. In simple terms when crossing a bar it is far better to make the “cross” when there is an incoming tide – far better to wait the extra time and make a safe voyage -and the same on the the return cross on the “flood tide”. Unless these simple facts are followed expect to see more sad event as more and more people buy and use seafaring vessels without real understanding.


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