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Surf Life Saving volunteers have been called out to assist with a number of emergencies along the NSW coast in the last few days.

Despite Covid restrictions, many people have been out and about, making the most of the winter sunshine. Unfortunately some of these outings have ended in tragedy, including three men who drowned in a boating accident on Saturday night and a father who has died trying to rescue his young daughter at Batemans Bay today.

Bellambi Boat Fatality

A full scale search and rescue operation involving multiple agencies was mounted in the early hours of Sunday morning after a group of three men aboard a small fishing boat did not return from their outing on Saturday.

Surf Life Saving Illawarra Duty Officers, jetski and inflatable rescue boat crews responded to help search the waters near Port Kembla for any signs of the two missing men, after one man’s body was discovered on Corrimal Beach. Thirty-five volunteers took part in the search, from clubs including Bulli, Bellambi, Corrimal, Woonona and Towradgi. Sadly the two men were found deceased with the boat by Police approximately 5kms offshore between Wollongong and Port Kembla.

It is unclear if any of the three deceased were wearing lifejackets.

Rescue at Rainbow Caves

At midday on Monday, the SLSNSW State Operations Centre was notified of someone in the water at Moonee Beach, south of Catherine Hill Bay.

What unfolded was an amazing rescue, successfully executed by a 17 year-old girl who witnessed a person swept from the rocks at Rainbow Caves, apparently while taking photos. The witness raced up to two rockfishers nearby, grabbed their lifejackets and leapt into the water and managed to keep herself and the victim afloat until they were airlifted by helicopter.

Witnesses commented on the young rescuer’s quick-thinking to find floatation devices before attempting the rescue.

Lake Macquarie Lifeguard Supervisor Paul Stone said the spot has become popular in recent months for walkers and photographers. “We’ve had about four incidents in the last three months,” he said. “To get a good photo of the caves you have to get right out on the edge of the rocks and it’s easy to get washed in.”

Drowning at Batemans Bay

A father has drowned at Surf Beach Batemans Bay after attempting to rescue his young daughter. The girl managed to get back to shore with the help of a member of the public, but sadly her father passed away during the rescue effort. Surf Life Saving volunteers from the Far South Coast Branch responded to the tragedy, along with Marine Rescue.

Werri Beach Surfer Safe

A callout to a surfer who was swept around the headland at Gerringong this afternoon thankfully ended well with the surfer able to get himself back to the beach.

Warning for Coastal Activities

“Our hearts go out to the families and friends of these victims, we cannot begin to imagine what they must be feeling.

“I want to thank all our volunteers who have responded to callouts in recent days and we will be reaching out to those who have been involved to offer support,” said Surf Life Saving NSW President George Shales.

Conditions are expected to be potentially hazardous in some areas in the coming days and Surf Life Saving is urging people to take care if out on the water, surfing, swimming or near rock platforms.

There is a strong wind warning for the Far South Coast.  Messy sea conditions from 1.5 – 2.5 metres will persist along the entire coast for the rest of the week.


  • Avoid rock fishing and water activities on exposed beaches/rock-shelves

  • Only swim at patrolled beaches, between the red and yellow flags. See the Beachsafe Website for patrolled locations/times

  • Check the official Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecast before undertaking rock fishing and water activities

  • Boaties should seek advice from Marine Rescue NSW and always wear a lifejacket

  • If witnessing an in-water emergency dial Triple Zero (000) – Police.


Monday 5 July 2021