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Byron Shire
March 1, 2024

Ballina boaters lucky to be alive

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Two boaters are lucky to be alive after their vessel capsized in challenging conditions off the Ballina coat early Sunday morning.

Marine Rescue NSW Inspector Rodney Page said on Monday radio operators at the Ballina base took a call for help just after 7am Monday.

‘Conditions were challenging with a 2.5 metre sea and a 20km/h southerly wind,’ Inspector Page said via media release.

‘Thankfully both men on board the capsized 4.2 metre open runabout were wearing lifejackets and there was a flood tide running in,’ he said.

Inspector Page said a large wave had washed over the boat moments before it capsized.

“The impact of that wave resulted in the skipper being thrown into the water while the next wave caught the side of the boat resulting in it being overturned and the second man also going into the water.

“The men were lucky that another vessel was nearby and that our rescue crew responded quickly.

High tide the safest time to cross Ballina bar

A private fishing vessel retrieved one of the men while volunteers on board rescue vessel Ballina 30 rescued the other man from beside the overturned boat, Inspector Page said.

Volunteers secured the upturned vessel and towed it to the nearby sailing club boat ramp while both men were returned safely to shore.

NSW Ambulance paramedics reportedly assessed the men, with one said to have suffered a minor cut to his leg.

Inspector Page said the Ballina Bar was challenging and could sometime be dangerous.

‘A high tide is about the safest time to cross but if you’re not sure, don’t go out, the price is really high if you get it wrong crossing a bar,’ the inspector said.

‘Good advice is to sit off the bar in your boat, have a look at the way the waves are coming in, you will see a section where the waves are not breaking, that is the deepest water to travel out, use the navigational leads and if you’re not sure, don’t go out.’

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