An early morning kayak trip at Byron Bay on the state’s Far North Coast could have ended in disaster had it not been for the intervention of surf lifesavers who carried out a dramatic rescue effort on Sunday.
The promise of a day of free diving at Julian Rocks combined with perfect summer conditions prompted a group of kayakers to depart from The Pass for the short paddle early this morning.
One kayak carrying a man and woman aged in their 30s capsized after taking on water. A second nearby kayak went to their aid but despite multiple attempts were unable to right it due to the huge volume of water inside.
The second group then paddled to shore to raise the alarm initially with Marine Rescue NSW.
At around 10:45am the State Operations Centre received reports from NSW Police that two kayakers were in distress near Julian Rocks after their vessel had taken on water and capsized.
Lifesavers from Byron Bay SLSC responded to the calls for assistance, while the Far North Coast Support Operations jet ski was tasked to attend the incident which was believed to have occurred about 4 km from shore.
A search was quickly organised and after a short time on-scene, the stranded man and woman were both plucked from the water while their kayak which was almost submerged by this point was towed back to Main Beach.
The two had been in water for about 90 minutes drifting with their kayak and fortunately despite suffering fatigue were none the worse for their ordeal.
Neither of the kayakers were wearing lifejackets at the time.
NSW State Duty Officer Jimmy Keough said the incident was a timely reminder about the importance of wearing lifejackets.
“I would like to acknowledge the quick response from the IRB crew at Byron Bay who were able to get on-scene within ten minutes of the report coming in.
“The two kayakers were extremely fortunate as this incident could easily have escalated had the conditions worsened. It reinforces just how crucial lifejackets are regardless of the type of water activity you’re participating in,” Mr Keough said.
Sunday 11 February 2018