Wednesday, January 21, 2015

A father and son saved from a cold and wet night at sea are urging fellow boaties to ensure they’re equipped with an emergency beacon.

Richard Siney, 50, and his son Nicholas, 12, were fishing in the Mundoo Channel, near Goolwa, when they hit a coral reef and got stuck about 8pm last Wednesday. After 45 minutes trying to get the boat off the reef, Mr Siney, of Flinders Park, said their options of getting help were limited as his mobile phone had run out of power and his old marine radio was not working.

They were also running out of daylight. “We tried and tried to get out but we couldn’t,” he said. Nicholas let off the flares. “We were sitting in only a foot of water so we were safe but if the damage from the reef caused us to take on water it could have been a lot worse."

“My marine radio was eight years old and was not working".

“So we were just sitting there for a while and thought, ‘We might have to sleep here’.” He said they were wet and his son started to get cold as the sunlight disappeared so he had no choice but to set off his Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon — or EPIRB.

When the beacon was activated, a police helicopter went to their location and checked on their welfare. SA Sea Rescue Squadron volunteers from Goolwa then went out to rescue the pair and towed the boat back to Goolwa about 10.15pm.

Nicholas was wrapped up to keep him warm but they were otherwise uninjured. “He’s a tough kid,” Mr Siney said. “It was very dark by the time we got back because there was no moonlight. We would have had to stay out there until the morning if we didn’t have the EPIRB. I guess the moral of the story is to always carry quality safety equipment and check expiry dates on flares."

“It could have been a lot worse.”

He thanked the sea rescue volunteers and police for their timely response. Since the incident, Mr Siney has bought a new marine radio and is urging other boaties to check their safety equipment.

Police have also echoed Mr Siney’s warning, saying all boat users needed to ensure they carried a working emergency beacon and safety equipment.

In a separate incident, the State Emergency Service was called to waters off Weeroona Island, near Port Pirie, after reports some fisherman were stranded after they could not restart their motor.

They were towed back to shore.