INVERLOCH State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers and police staged a daring rescue in treacherous conditions at Waratah Bay last week, saving a couple who were stranded in a boat with a flat battery.
Volunteer Charlie Deering said rescuers had to battle fierce rain squalls after receiving the distress call at 4.30pm last Wednesday, July 9.
A 45 year-old man from Rye was stranded in a 15-foot vessel after being unable to navigate a return route back to Shallow Inlet.
“Police had rescued a woman from the boat via helicopter but the man didn’t want to do the same because he had a little pup in the boat,” Mr Deering explained.
“He was tossing up his options and thought of swimming ashore, but if he did that he wouldn’t have made it in those conditions.
SES volunteers travelled 120km to tow the boat safely back to Inverloch, in an operation that lasted roughly six hours.
Wonthaggi Senior Sergeant Steve Gibson said that apart from mild hypothermia and sea sickness, the man and woman (aged 47 and also from Rye) escaped injury.
“It is timely to remind all boat operators not to exceed their experience or equipment levels when venturing out to sea,” Snr Sgt Gibson said.
“I’m sure this would have been a frightening experience for both people concerned.
“Weather in the Bass Strait can be extremely treacherous and is subject to sudden change. “Thankfully, tragedy was averted due to the prompt attention of emergency services.”
Snr Sgt Gibson praised Police Air Wing personnel and the SES rescue crew, including Dale Johnson and Tim Kuch, for their courageous efforts.