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Fishermen saved after boat overturns on Ballina Bar

Volunteers from Marine Rescue Ballina responded to reports of a capsized vessel with two people in the water early yesterday morning (Sunday 11 February).

Marine Rescue NSW Inspector Rodney Page said radio operators at the Ballina base took a call for assistance just after 7am and rescue vessel Ballina 30 was deployed.

“Conditions were challenging with a 2.5 metre sea and a 20km/h southerly wind.

“Thankfully both men on board the capsized 4.2 metre open runabout were wearing lifejackets and there was a flood tide running in.

“A private fishing vessel retrieved one of the men while volunteers on board BA 30 rescued the other man from beside the overturned boat.

“The man collected by the private vessel was transferred to BA 30.

“Our crew then secured the upturned vessel and towed it to the Sailing Club boat ramp while both men were returned safely to shore.

“NSW Ambulance paramedics assed the men with one of them suffering a minor cut to his leg,” he said.

Inspector Page said a large wave washed over the boat moments before it capsized.

“The impact of that wave resulted in the skipper being thrown into the water while the next wave caught the side of the boat resulting in it being overturned and the second man also going into the water.

“The men were lucky that another vessel was nearby and that our rescue crew responded quickly.

“The Ballina Bar is challenging and can be dangerous at times.

“We ask all boaters to treat coastal bars with caution.

“A high tide is about the safest time to cross but if you’re not sure, don’t go out, the price is really high if you get it wrong crossing a bar.

“Good advice is to sit off the bar in your boat, have a look at the way the waves are coming in, you will see a section where the waves are not breaking, that is the deepest water to travel out, use the navigational leads and if you’re not sure, don’t go out,” Inspector Page said.

Marine Rescue NSW is a volunteer based not-for-profit professional organisation dedicated to keeping boaters safe on the water and supporting local communities.