Lifejacket Saves Kayaker

All ocean users were reminded of the importance of wearing lifejackets after a kayaker survived for six hours in the ocean off Port Stephens on Sunday night.

Kogarah Bay warehouse assistant Fhelipe Davoodifar, reveals he hired a lifejacket just minutes before setting out in his kayak, which was later swamped on the return trip to Nelson Bay.

“I always wear a lifejacket but on Sunday I forgot to bring it. I almost went out without one but there’s a little hire kiosk on the beach and I picked one up - $15 for three hours. It was the best $15 I’ve ever spent,” he said.

Mr Davoodifar and his friend were still well offshore when the conditions changed and Mr Davoodifar’s kayak was swamped. His friend headed back to shore to get help.

“I stayed on the kayak for as long as I could – about three or four hours - then I saw the search boats so I started trying to swim to shore," he said.

Surf Life Saving resources are regularly tasked to assist with maritime search and rescue operations for missing or in-distress kayakers, surf ski paddlers, kite surfers, rockfishers and overturned vessels.

"For those who have taken precautions and are wearing a lifejacket, the outcome is almost always a good one," said SLSNSW Lifesaving Manager, Dean Storey.

RMS Boating Safety Officer, Paul Hearfield, agrees. “This man’s life was saved because he made the very sensible decision to wear his lifejacket."

The kayaker was finally located by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter and picked up by an RMS patrol boat.

Thu 16 May 2013