Boat safety highlighted
MARINE Rescue Point Danger says a boating mishap which led a Tweed Heads man to swim six hours to shore this week has highlighted the need for increased safety awareness at sea.
Marine Rescue organisations along the eastern coastline are urging boaties to log details such as where they are heading and the length of time they intend to be out, before they set off.
Point Danger commander Bernie Gabriel said the search for fisherman Andrew Wilson could have been pin-pointed if Mr Wilson had logged details.
“We activated our boat and crew to standby when his boat came past in the afternoon and when we checked the log book and found it was not logged in everything went into action,” he said.
“We’re not out to criticise our boaties, we just want to highlight the importance of safety awareness when out at sea and we’re simply using the uncanny circumstances of this incident to stress to people how your luck can turn on you out there.
“I daresay if he hadn’t been such a good swimmer, he wouldn’t have made it.”
The 25-year-old was washed off his boat and swam 8km to shore after his runabout powered on without him, sparking a frantic four-hour search by friends, police and the Point Danger crew.
Mr Gabriel said they responded to between three and four false-alarm boating incidents every year because only 60 per cent of boaties logged in.
“It’s a simple thing to do but it saves a lot of unnecessary panic when we’re out searching for family’s loved ones,” he said.
“We had a couple of guys that hadn’t logged in and were quite happily having a few drinks at the pub after they got in, totally unaware that people were looking for them.”
Mr Gabriel said he was surprised Mr Wilson made it to shore without a lifejacket.
“We want them (boaties) to always have their lifejackets on and if possible to tie a guideline from their jacket to the boat.
“Even our helicopter can miss people in the surf if they aren’t wearing a bright lifejacket and put simply, they can save your life.”
Radio in Boaties urged to log details before they set off