Dan Kelly was glad to have been rescued from a dicey situation on the Clarence River bar last Thursday March 10, when he “unexpectedly” found his Hobie trimaran rudderless and at the mercy of an outgoing tide.
Lower Clarence’s duty officer for Surf Life Saving NSW, Peter Sweetman, said Iluka/Yamba Marine Rescue “advised us that a kayaker was having difficulties approaching the end of the bar”.
“We activated our emergency call out system and a number of members came down to the beach,” he said.
“Our jet ski left its location at Whiting Beach to attend. We had an IRB [inflatable rescue boat] secure the patient; and the jet ski returned the patient to shore, uninjured.
“We towed the Hobie craft to the beach and all is well.
“When we got the call he was having trouble with the current on the inside of the northern wall; when we picked him up he was about 10 metres south of the tip of the southern wall.”
It was the first rescue performed by the jet ski since the official opening of the Surf Life Saving North Coast Rescue facility at Hickey Island on February 27, however, Mr Sweetman said it had been “involved in incidents over the last nine months”.
Mr Kelly said he was glad to have been rescued and emphasised the importance of always wearing a lifejacket.
“I put my boat out inside the walls and sailed okay until the shear pin in my rudder broke; so I had no way of steering,” he said.
“The tide was going out, which took me out to the sand bar. I was waiting for the tide to turn at 4.30pm.
“The surf lifesavers were good enough to be on the ball to get out there and get me before anything could happen.
“It was really efficient of them, a really good job. I was glad I was wearing a life vest. The first thing the lifesaver said to me was do up the zipper on my vest, just as a precaution.
“I got caught on the bar and was lucky there wasn’t a big swell.”