Three in rescue drama off coast

Headshot of Adam Poulsen
Adam PoulsenGeraldton Guardian
Communications officer Ian Beard at the GVMR control room at Point Moore.
Camera IconCommunications officer Ian Beard at the GVMR control room at Point Moore. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian, Matthew Woodley

Geraldton Volunteer Marine Rescue Group rushed to rescue three people after a boat broke down without a working radio off the coast near Geraldton on Sunday 4.

The boat’s skipper caught the attention of beachgoers after setting off an orange smoke flare about four nautical miles south-west of Glenfield beach.

Geraldton Volunteer Marine Rescue Group communications officer Ian Beard said the group was first notified by a Geraldton Charters vessel about noon.

“He wasn’t able to render any assistance because he was coming back on one engine,” Mr Beard said.

“Because everybody was at the beach yesterday, lots of people saw the smoke flare and we got drowned in telephone calls.”

Mr Beard said the aluminium runabout had broken down about four nautical miles off the coast, but fortunately conditions were relatively calm.

He said the group dispatched its rescue vessel, Nashria, which towed the stricken vessel to safety at Drummond Cove.

Mr Beard said the rescue served as an important reminder for people to contact the Volunteer Marine Rescue Group and ensure their radios worked before setting out to sea.

“People need to log on when they’re going out so that we can respond much quicker,” he said.

“If you log on when you leave, you know your radio works before you even leave the harbour.

“It’s not a real good time to find out your radio doesn’t work when you’re in a bit of trouble.”

Mr Beard also reminded kite surfers to be prepared for sudden drops in wind strength.

“When the wind drops, kite surfers can’t go any more,” he said.

“Sailboards are very buoyant and they can usually paddle themselves in, but the kiteboard has no buoyancy at all. It’s basically a ski.

“We had some problems yesterday, where fortunately they were able to sort themselves out.”

Mr Beard said a kite surfer had to be rescued by a paddle boarder off Sunset Beach.

“I also watched one at Point Moore, but he was close to shore so he had no real trouble getting in.”

Mr Beard said he would like to see kite surfers carry a handheld radio and a personal locator beacon so they could raise the alarm if they got into trouble.

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