More fishermen rescued off Wooli

Marine Rescue Wooli tows a vessel back to shore after it became stranded near Wooli.
Marine Rescue Wooli tows a vessel back to shore after it became stranded near Wooli.

TWO deep sea anglers have been rescued from strife off the coast of Wooli for the second time in almost as many weeks.

Marine Rescue Wooli responded to a vessel in distress about three nautical miles off Wooli on Wednesday morning when a 4m craft with engine trouble became stranded in choppy conditions.

Northern Rivers regional co-ordinator for Marine Rescue NSW Stephen Reading said the two men were unable to raise the alarm because the vessel’s radio was broken and instead they managed to flag down a professional fishing vessel by waving a life jacket.

The fishing vessel was able to radio for help.

“Marine Rescue Wooli responded with the local professional fishermen standing by with the stricken vessel until the Wooli rescue vessel reached the scene,” Mr Reading said.

“The rescue crew removed the two men from the vessel and towed the vessel through worsening conditions back to Wooli.”

Mr Reading said the two men in the stricken vessel had been rescued on the June long weekend when their motor gave out while they were offshore near the mouth of the Wooli River.

He said it was incredibly frustrating for Marine Rescue Wooli that repeated messages to the men, both Wooli locals, about the importance of checking and maintaining their equipment before leaving shore was not getting through.

“For any vessel going offshore, everything needs to be in top working condition, all your emergency stuff, your motors, everything has got to be in top condition and working,” he said.

He said the men had not checked in with any radio bases before leaving shore, a fact he said might have had dire consequences.

“These guys, they couldn’t anchor and they were drifting – they were being pushed offshore with the westerly wind; so if no one had known they were actually out there, it could have been many, many hours before the alarm was raised and by that time these guys could have been way out beyond the island and heading towards New Zealand,” Mr Reading said.

“That’s the critical thing – no one knew they were there.

“Any fisherman who is going offshore should just radio in to one of the radio bases up and down the coast or leave instructions at home to say where they would be fishing and when they should be back.”

Topics:  fishermen rescue wooli

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