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Boaters rescued in 105km/h winds and 4-5 metre swell off Port Macquarie

Volunteers from Marine Rescue Port Macquarie have returned two boaters to safety after their 12-metre yacht broke its boom in extreme conditions around five nautical miles northeast of Port Macquarie Monday night.

Marine Rescue Port Macquarie received a radio call for assistance from the skipper of the disabled vessel just after 8pm on Monday.

Marine Rescue Port Macquarie Unit Commander Greg Davies said rescue vessel Port Macquarie 30 was deployed for the mission.

“The disabled vessel initially lost its boom and steering capability and later its motor, radio and mobile communications.

“The conditions were harrowing on the water.

“The wind was gusting at 57 knots (105 km/h) and there was a four to five metre swell,” Unit Commander Davies said.

Despite the extreme conditions, Port Macquarie 30 skipper Len Smart, Leading Crew Rob Britten and crew members David Withers, Bruce Lee, Michael Ranson-Smith and Warren Gowing successfully reached the disabled vessel and secured a towline.

“Waves were breaking over both vessels and there were visibility issues but the Marine Rescue crew worked really hard and did a brilliant job in very challenging conditions,” Mr Davies said.

Unit Commander Davies said Marine Rescue Port Macquarie Radio Operator Brooke Mason played an integral role in the rescue mission.

“With the disabled vessel losing both its radio and mobile communications, Brooke stayed calm and in control to provide important support to the rescue crew,” he said.

Port Macquarie 21 was deployed with skipper Ray Angel and Mr Davies on board to monitor the bar as PM 30 returned with the disabled yacht in tow.

“Because the bar conditions were challenging and the towline was under stress we wanted to make sure that assistance was on hand in case the bar crossing didn’t go to plan.

“Thankfully it did,” he said.

Unit Commander Davies said the two boaters and their disabled vessel were safely returned to the public mooring on the Hastings River just after 1.30am this morning.

“It was slow going coming back to Port Macquarie.

“I am extremely proud of the crew, they handled the conditions very well,” Mr Davies said.

Volunteers from Port Macquarie Marine Rescue followed up on the welfare of the boaters this morning.

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