28 October 2021

In August, a solo boater in his early 20s went overboard while fishing, with the boat drifting too quickly to catch.

He was stranded in the middle of the ocean a long way offshore with nothing but a mobile phone. Luckily, he was able to make a call that saved his life.

Coast Guard began to search, with recreational and commercial vessel operators also keeping a lookout on the water.

His boat was found, so then the search for the young man began. By this stage he would have been in the water for roughly an hour.

Another boater found the man suffering from severe hypothermia around 1 km from where his boat was found. He was rushed to shore and airlifted for hospital treatment.

Coast Guard Mallacoota shared this story and said: “Thank you to everyone in the community that took time out of their day to help someone in need, it is very much appreciated and without your help this story could have had a very grim outcome.”

Lessons Learnt

A few simple steps can help you ensure you come home safely.

Stay shipshape: Maintain your boat, including fuel and batteries, so you can avoid a breakdown (the most common cause of marine rescue calls each year).

Make sure your lifejacket (and other safety gear) is in good nick, and remember inflatables require regular checks.

Do some ‘boatkeeping’: Review what’s onboard and remove what you don’t need, to reduce unnecessary weight and increase safety margins. It also makes your boat safer and more economical to tow.

Be prepared: Check the Boating Vic website or app before heading out on the water, for local conditions at your launching spot, and to see if any warnings or notifications may scupper your plans.

Are you carrying all the required safety equipment for your vessel, waterway and activity? Have you considered a distress beacon for a sure way to raise the alarm at your location?

Wear a lifejacket: If you end up in the water, you are much more likely to survive if you are wearing a lifejacket.

Visit our Wear a Lifejacket site to try our lifejacket selector, view lifejacket laws, and get tips for choosing the right jacket for your activity.

Picture: Coast Guard Mallacoota Facebook