6 July 2021

The rescue of a father and his 11-year-old daughter off Western Australia in May highlights the importance of activating – and then staying with – a distress beacon in an emergency.

The pair had been yachting when the weather took a dangerous turn and they were knocked into the water by a large wave. There were three others on board who entered the water after more waves hit, before the vessel rapidly sank.

Those three adults were rescued about two-and-a-half hours after an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) strapped to one of the women was activated.

It took a further two hours to find the dad and daughter, who had drifted away from the group and were injured.

Thankfully, everyone was wearing their lifejacket and successfully rescued.

Lessons Learnt

  • Check the weather – even if it looks nice before launch, there may be storm and swell warnings
  • Wear a lifejacket – you don’t know when you’ll need it or how quickly you can end up in the water
  • Carry a distress beacon – attach it to your lifejacket or wrist. You need to stay with it so rescuers can find you

Pictured: A rescue helicopter, Jurien Bay Police Twitter