Fisherman’s Lucky Escape

A decision to wear a lifejacket on an early morning rockfishing trip proved to be a fruitful one for a man who was washed into the sea off the NSW Coast on Saturday.

At around 9.45am today the State Operations Centre was alerted by police that a man was in the water at Birdie Beach, Budgewoi off the NSW Central Coast.

Two men believed to be in their 30s, and Korean Nationals had been fishing at the northern end of the popular fishing spot when a large wave crashed onto the rocks washing one of them into the sea.

His friend managed to regain his feet and raised the alarm by alerting the police, but unfortunately powerful tidal conditions had swept the man several hundred metres offshore.

Australian Lifeguard Service personnel patrolling nearby Fraser Beach were tasked to respond to the incident, and a jet ski was launched to assist in the rescue.

The man’s lifejacket kept him afloat for the twenty minutes he was in the water, and he was able to swim himself back to the rocks where Lifeguards, police, and paramedics assessed him for any possible injuries.

He was given a clean bill of health, and further treatment was not required.

ALS Coordinator Brent Manieri said the successful outcome of this rescue was due in part to the men taking precautions prior to going out fishing.

“The decision to wear a lifejacket, have a phone, and fish with a friend was certainly helpful for these men. This incident also highlights how important effective communication between emergency responders is as the whole operation was able to be conducted within 20 minutes,” Mr Manieri said.

“There have been a number of incidents along this part of the coast, and a previous operational review by the Australian Lifeguard Service found that many of these incidents happen in the early morning.

“As a result it was decided to bring forward the starting time of the Fraser Lifeguards to 9am these school holidays rather than the usual 10am time.

"Although it ultimately turned out that the lifeguards weren’t required to effect a rescue in this situation, the decision to alter the time meant they were ready and able to respond as needed,” he said.

Sat 18 Apr 2015