During National Safe Boating Week, (September 26 to October 2) boaters are being urged to check forecast weather and sea conditions before heading out after five people were rescued from the water when they were recently caught in a fierce Southerly Buster.
Two kayakers, a jet ski rider and two people on board a dinghy were thrown into the water when their vessels capsized in high winds and choppy conditions on Port Hacking on Thursday, September 17.
In a dramatic afternoon, emergency services raced to the scene when a kayaker overturned on Burraneer Bay, followed by a Good Samaritan on another kayak, who also capsized. A jet ski rider who went to assist the pair subsequently overturned, too.
The crew of rescue vessel Port Hacking 30 pulled two people from the water after their dinghy capsized before returning three other vessels stranded in the southerly change to safety.
Rescues were avoidable
Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos said the rescues were concerning as they were avoidable. ‘Marine Rescue volunteers frequently are called to help boaters who find themselves in serious trouble after misjudging weather and sea conditions and not heeding the weather warnings,’ he said.
‘It’s vital that you check weather and sea conditions before heading out and regularly throughout the day as conditions may change quickly.
‘You can also call your local Marine Rescue base on VHF Channel 16 at any time for an update on current and forecast weather and sea conditions.’
Transport for NSW Deputy Secretary Safety, Environment and Regulation, Tara McCarthy, said poor weather conditions are among the top five factors contributing to boating trauma.
‘Boating in poor weather accounted for 33 fatalities in the 10 years to 30 June, 2020,’ said Ms McCarthy.’ Choosing to go boating in poor weather conditions also commonly results in preventable situations like passengers falling overboard or capsizes.
Live web cam for weather conditions
‘Checking the combination of winds, waves and warnings to determine if conditions are suitable for boating is essential. Weather checks should be part of trip planning, pre departure and while out on the water.
‘Transport for NSW provides live web-cam vision of certain coastal bars and other important locations to help boaters and skippers in preparing for a safe and responsible voyage.’
Commissioner Tannos said it was important for boaters to understand the limits of their vessel for the
forecast conditions and to follow the simple advice: if in doubt, don’t go out.
‘This week is National Safe Boating Week and with the boating season starting on the long weekend, it’s time to get ready. Have a survival plan, check your vessel and safety equipment are in good repair and make sure you understand and can adapt to weather conditions,’ he said.
‘We urge anyone heading out on the water to Log On with Marine Rescue NSW as they head out on VHF Channel 16 or the free MarineRescue App so our volunteers can keep watch. If you’re not back safely as planned, we’ll start to search for you.
‘It’s also vital to make sure everyone on board is wearing a lifejacket.’