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On Saturday June 22 a married couple was rescued by surf lifesavers and treated for hypothermia and other injuries after they were washed off rocks at Boomerang Beach near Forster, NSW.

The couple were part of a group of four people rock fishing at around 11.30am on Saturday when a large wave struck the rocks. It swept the man, 31, and the 29-year-old woman out to sea.

Surf Life Saving Duty Officer, Richard Ellery, said the couple were both wearing life jackets at the time the rogue wave swept them off the rocks. The remaining members of their party raised the alarm.

Emergency services responded to a call to Triple Zero, including teams from Lower North Coast Surf Life Saving, Police, NSW Ambulance and the Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter.

Conditions at the time of the incident were cold and very dangerous with high winds and large sea swells.

Duty Officer Richard Ellery rescued the couple by jetski, locating them floating about 100 metres from shore. A Surf Life Saving IRB (inflatable rescue boat) was also deployed as part of Surf Life Saving’s response.

The pair were retrieved and taken to the Pacific Palms SLSC at Elizabeth Beach for treatment. The woman suffered a fractured left leg and the man had a badly lacerated arm. Both were treated for hypothermia.

They were taken to Manning Base Hospital, Taree in a stable condition.

"Had it not been for the life jackets and the incredibly swift response of Surf Life Saving personnel, we could have had an extremely tragic event here today," Manning Great Lakes police district Chief Inspector Paul Fuller said.

Ambulance officers attending the scene also praised the work of surf lifesavers saying; “The volunteer surf lifesavers rescued the two very injured casualties in trying circumstances – assisting them in serious peril”. They conveyed their sincere thanks for their assistance and amazing efforts.

Former Pacific Palms SLSC President Kel McCredie, who was also part of the callout team, commended the jetski and IRB operators in locating and retrieving the couple saying that “lives were saved by their efforts”.

Surf Life Saving NSW CEO Steven Pearce also commended the response of local surf lifesavers saying that had it not been for the fast response and the fact the couple were wearing life jackets, there may have been a very different outcome.

“We can’t stress enough the importance of taking responsibility for yourself when rock fishing. Please stop and think before putting yourself, your friends and family and our first responders in danger.”

Since 1 July 2018, 40 people have drowned on the NSW coastline.

Since 1 July 2018, there have been six coastal drownings as a result of rock fishing.


  • Check the weather, surf conditions and tides before going fishing

  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will be back

  • Always wear a lifejacket

  • Wear appropriate non-slip footwear and light clothing

  • Always fish with a friend

  • Check the warnings signs for information about the area

  • Never turn your back to the water

  • Do not try and retrieve anything that has fallen into the water

  • Do not jump in if someone falls into the water - wait for assistance or throw an ‘Angel Ring’ or Lifebuoy if there is one nearby

  • Additionally, boaters are urged to always check conditions prior and to log on with their local Marine Rescue Base via radio or using the Marine Rescue App. Visit for more information

  • Call Triple Zero – Police to report an in-water emergency.


Monday 24 June 2019