Surf Life Saving Lower North Coast Duty Officer Jerrad Allen has hammered home the importance of wearing a life jacket when rock fishing after two young men were rescued from treacherous waters at Charlotte Head in Booti Booti National Park on Tuesday 6 September.

The rescue has since been recognised as the Surf Life Saving NSW Rescue of the Month for September 2022.

The two men, aged 22 and 20, were part of a group of four who had travelled north from Maitland before being swept off the rocks at 3.30pm in what was described as 3 to 3.5 metre surf.

“I was just getting home from work when I got the call,” said Jerrad.

“I grabbed my radio from home and notified of a callout, my wife and I offloaded the kids to the grandparents and we met down at the beach.

“We launched the jetski quite quickly, got it out on the water. There were people up on the headlands being spotters.

“The surf was only 1.5 to 2 metres where we launched but where they came off the rocks it was upwards of 3 metres.”

Lower North Coast Support Ski 3 launched from Pacific Palms SLSC and navigated the tricky conditions to retrieve the two men.

“With the swell and the conditions, they had been swept north towards Foster and out to sea a couple of hundred metres,” Jerrad said.

“With it being in a cove, you’re getting a lot of backwash from the rock face, then the swell escalated that, so it wasn’t easy.

“The two guys that we picked up had been in the water for around half an hour, one was suffering from mild hypothermia, and both were quite lethargic.”

The lifesavers returned both men to Elizabeth Beach to be treated by paramedics, while an Inflatable Rescue Boat was launched to conduct a welfare check on the remaining two men on the rocks at Charlotte Head.

While the rescue was successful, it’s a sage reminder that the proper safety equipment can ultimately save lives.

“This rescue was one with a life jacket and one without. Three weeks ago we were called out and that bloke had no life jacket, back in April a man drowned and he didn’t have a life jacket,” Jerrad said.

“It’s important to be wearing that life vest if you’re going rock fishing.

“As we’ve said to some of the people we’ve rescued, better us to bring you back to your family.

“That’s the big lesson that we’re trying to push.”

Friday 9 September 2022 

Rock Fishers Rescued on Lower North Coast