Combined effort saves four off Ocean Beach

Around 3:00pm on Saturday 30th January, the volunteer on duty in the radio room at Marine Rescue Central Coast, Bill Schwartz, received a phone call from Ocean Beach Surf Life Saving Club. The caller reported a capsized and sinking vessel on the offshore sandbar at the northern end of the beach. The SLSC rubber duck had saved on person and a dog and there were three others in the water.

Bill urgently contacted Ian Radford and his crew onboard Central Coast 22 who were undertaking a training exercise around Lobster Beach. The rescue boat was quickly at Ocean Beach and was able to take the rescued person and dog aboard. They learned that the other three persons were safe ashore, so ran the rescue boat in close to shore to enable those persons to join their companions on the rescue boat. The local Roads and Maritime Boating Services Officer overheard the radio calls and joined the SLSC and Marine Rescue at the site. The R & M BSO agreed to attempt salvage of the sinking craft and if possible tow it to the Pretty Beach Ramp while Marine Rescue took the rescued people to their car and trailer at Blackwall Ramp. The owners could then drive to meet the BSO. The vessel was towed to Pretty Beach. Unfortunately, it sank again near the ramp. The owners were provided with details of salvage operators by the BSO.

Meanwhile, about 3:10pm Bill Schwartz received a VHF marine radio call from a 9.5m yacht in Broken Bay with four people onboard. The owner reported a mechanical problem, he had no forward gear, and sought assistance crossing the bar at Little Box Head and getting back to the mooring at Ettalong. Bill tasked offshore rescue vessel Central Coast 21 to assist. Bob Sullivan and his crew soon met the yacht and took them in tow for the bar crossing. By 4:20pm the yacht was safely back on its mooring at Ettalong

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