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Surf Life Saving NSW volunteer lifesavers are currently involved in two separate search and rescue operations involving missing watercraft in the state’s north.

In one incident, Lifesavers from Kingscliff were tasked in the search for a missing 54-year-old man from the Gold Coast after his upturned jetski was found by a passing vessel floating 14kms offshore – with no sign of the man in the vicinity.

In a multi-agency search and rescue operation involving Marine Rescue, Water Police and the Australian Marine Rescue Safety Authority, multiple Surf Life Saving NSW jetskis and crew were tasked and conducted an extensive search for the man along the coastline between Pottsville and Kingscliff.

It’s believed the missing 54-year-old man was jetskiing alone and was wearing a lifejacket at the time of his disappearence.

Surf Life Saving assets have been stood down from the coastal area search today but it’s likely that they will be tasked again as more information comes to hand or the search area is widened.

In a separate incident, SLSNSW assets were tasked to join the search for two men aged 70 and 37 and their 4.4m tinnie fishing boat after they failed to return from an early morning fishing trip off Coffs Harbour yesterday.

Surf Life Saving NSW volunteer jetskis and crew joined an extensive, land, sea and air search for the missing men. Surf Life Saving NSW is part of the multi-agency search which also involved Police, the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter and Australian Maritime Safety Authority aircraft.

Surf Life Saving NSW jetski assets conducted a close coastal search of the shoreline between Nambucca Heads and Urunga which was the area identified by computer drift modelling as being where the tinnie would have drifted if its motor had failed.

The jetskis were later deployed to Split Solitary Island which was also identified as a location the men may have been fishing. The search was unsuccessful.

Surf Life Saving NSW assets and personnel have been stood down for the moment but remain on standby to re-join the search if tasked by Marine Area Command.

Steven Pearce, CEO SLSNSW said that the operational capability that SLSNSW is committing to these operations demonstrates SLSNSW’s capability beyond the flags.

“The increasing reliance on our volunteers in being able to respond to critical incidents of this kind, outside the red and yellow flags, is demonstrated by these operations,” said Steven Pearce.

“We will continue to commit resources to both these search and rescue operations in the hope of a positive outcome,” said Pearce.

Pearce said that both incidents highlight the importance of being prepared when boating.

“These two incidents reinforce the importance of lifejackets and letting loved ones know about your plans and where you will be at all times,” Pearce concluded.

SLSNSW Beach Safety Tips

  • Always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, for your nearest patrolled beach check the Beachsafe app or website

  • Read the safety signs for information about the beach and ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for safety information

  • Always swim with someone else so you can look out for each other, and always supervise children around the water

  • Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs

  • If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm

  • In an emergency, dial Triple Zero Police

  • For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe website or download the app.

Monday 30 December 2019