by Ken McManus
Strong winds caused dangerous conditions for three boaters on St Georges Basin today. The skipper and two passengers on board were forced to take refuge on a small island in the Basin when their boat suffered engine failure and was washed ashore before it could be re-started.
Rescue vessel Sussex 30 from the Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet Unit
As the boat was being washed ashore, the skipper sent a radio call for help. The Marine Rescue Jervis Bay radio base received the call before relaying it to the closer Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet unit to respond.
The emergency call was received about midday and rescue vessel Sussex 30 located the three within 30 minutes. The strong winds and heavy weed growth in the water, however, prevented Sussex 30 from reaching the stranded boaters on the island.
The wind eased temporarily and in the brief period of calmer conditions, the skipper of the stranded boat was able to get the engine started again and make for Sussex 30 in clear water. The three were taken aboard Sussex 30 and their boat towed to a safe landing place.
Marine Rescue NSW Illawarra Regional Controller Bruce Mitchell said the Bureau of Meteorology had issued a Gale Warning for Illawarra waters today.
'Marine Rescue NSW strongly urges all boaters to always check the weather forecast before they head out and to take heed of changing conditions when they are on the water,' Mr Mitchell said.
'The school holidays have attracted many families to NSW waterways and it is important that parents and responsible adults exercise caution when considering whether to launch a boat.'
Mr Mitchell said all boaters should ensure their marine radio was in good working condition for the coming boating season.
'Skippers are always welcome to call their local Marine Rescue radio base to check their radio transmission and reception is loud and clear. In an emergency like this one today, that radio call is all that is needed to get help on the way fast,' he said.