Two young anglers are counting their lucky stars this afternoon after their fishing boat was swamped by a wave and sank at Moon Island, just off Swansea Heads.
Despite the four-metre runabout’s demise, the pair – believed to be in their mid-to-late 20s – were fortuitously rescued and picked up by another vessel, in close proximity to the area.
It is understood that neither person was injured, with both of them now safe on dry land.
Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie Unit Commander Malcolm Druce said the organisation received a “mayday” call about 2.30pm on Sunday 7 February – and sprang into action immediately.
“Their boat sank in five minutes, that’s how quickly it happened,” he explained.
“So, they’re extremely fortunate, especially when they weren’t wearing life jackets.
“But, a big rap has to go to the member of the public who was nearby.
“Their actions prevented a far worse scenario.
“The duo could have been washed up on the rocks – or something more serious.
“They’d been in the water for approximately a quarter of an hour.
“Sadly, while we were collecting the debris, our members found a life jacket floating around.
“So, they had them on board the vessel; they just weren’t wearing them.”
Commander Druce admitted it was a timely reminder for seafarers – of all ages – to wear life jackets, at all times, on the water.
“In this instance, it was very lucky they were picked up; that’s not always the case,” he said.
“There are some good members of the public out there, which proved handy [today].
“However, I’m extremely surprised the two of them didn’t have their life jackets on.
“It’s a message we need to reinforce again and again.
“People must fulfil all safety precautions when they’re going out on a boat.
“Just make sure you check everything from fuel to telling others where you’ll be.
“And, at the moment, there are a lot more vessels on the water since COVID-19 – everyone is staying at home, instead of travelling.
“Don’t get me wrong, we love seeing people on the lake.
“But, we also want them to be safe.
“If you prepare for the worst, it can limit the danger if anything occurs.”
FOOTNOTE: The vessel floated to the surface just after 5pm on Sunday 7 February, with Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie towing it back to its base.