ACTION from Lower North Coast Branch surf lifesavers saved the life of a man clinging to the upturned hull of a catamaran near Seven Mile Beach, south of Forster, this week.
Julie Wilcox, the director of lifesaving, Lower North Coast received a call from NSW Surfcom advising of a person in the water at the north end of Seven Mile Beach about 600m from shore.
Mrs Wilcox sent her husband Brian Wilcox and Richard Ellery, both experienced lifesavers to attend. They towed an RWC (jetski) to Janie's Corner at the north end of Seven Mile Beach, where they launched the ski in choppy, one and a half metre conditions.
Following a update from VKG that the person was seen clinging to a dinghy halfway along the beach Mrs Wilcox also tasked Pacific Palms Surf Club members Dave Ellis and Kel McCredie to asssit. Within minutes Ellis and McCredie launched the club's IRB and proceeded to the south end of Seven Mile Beach then started a search pattern heading north.
Wilcox headed south on the RWC searching as he went and Ellery drove along the beach.
At around 6.20pm Wilcox located the patient clinging to the upturned hull of a Hobie catamaran. He assisted the exhausted and dehydrated man to shore then proceeded further up the beach to alert police, leaving the patient with Phil Dunk, a local who just happened to be checking out fishing spots on his way home from work.
The patient, believed to be from Pacific Palms, had taken his catamaran out for sail in the morning and it overturned around 11am after a sudden squall. He had been clinging to the upturned vessel since then.
The patient refused further medical treatment and was returned to Pacific Palms.
The RWC and IRB then proceeded out to the upturned vessel and liaised with the Marine Rescue launch to try to right it. As light was fading fast the vessel recovery was abandoned and both Surf Life Saving vessels proceeded to Pacific Palms Surf Club before dark.
"I have no doubt that this gentleman would have been in serious trouble and possibly perished if he had not been sighted (some six hours after entering the water) and rescued before dark," Mrs Wilcox said.
"It was a very pleasing outcome and excellent response from our members."
Mrs Wilcox advised the public to call 000 in the advent of any aquatic emergency.
"If you are boating always let someone know where you are going and how long you will be.''