In a boating emergency

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Channel 16 on VHF 
(distress and calling channel)

Channel 88 (27.880 MHz) 
on a 27 MHz radio

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9450 2468

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News & Media

  • Runaway boat snared in cunning operation
  • January 22, 2014

Volunteers from Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet on rescue vessel Sussex Inlet 10 and a member of the public on his jet ski combined in a cunning strategy to capture a runaway boat on Old Erowal Bay in St Georges Basin yesterday afternoon.


The boat’s owner, Anthony Rocheta, who was fishing alone, was thrown from his vessel by the wash of a passing boat.  As he fell, the throttle was knocked and the tiller turned, causing the boat to run in circles at speed, with no-one on board.


Mr Rocheta, who was wearing a lifejacket, was spotted by a nearby jet-skier, Jame Karaista, who is holidaying in the area. He took Mr Rocheta on board and then to his home on the shore of the bay.


In the meantime, a member of the public had called Huskisson Police to report the driverless boat. The police called Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet to go to the scene.


On arrival just after 4.20pm, the Marine Rescue crew saw the circling boat but no sign of anyone from it. With the life of the missing boater their number one priority, they began a search of the area and left the boat to continue circling on its consistent course.


Mr Karaista saw the Marine Rescue vessel and came to tell the crew that the owner was safely at home and offer his assistance.


Sussex Inlet 10 skipper, Unit Commander John Lang, determined it was too dangerous to try to board the spinning boat.


Instead, it was decided to attempt to stop the boat by snaring its propeller. Mr Karaista fetched a long rope, which was then strung between the jet-ski and the rescue vessel, successfully snaring the propeller and stopping the motor.


The crew then towed the boat to its grateful owner’s home.


“We received the call from Huskisson Police just after 4pm and were on the scene in 20 minutes. We had the runaway stopped by 5pm and I was home by 6pm,” UC Lang said.


“We then had another callout to help a boat that needed a tow due to failed electricals. It’s all in a day’s work over the holidays here at Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet.”


UC Lang thanked Mr Karaista for rescuing Mr Rocheta and his assistance in stopping the boat.


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