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Rescue in Bream Bay, DIY style


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A couple put their lives at risk to help a cold and lifeless man clinging to his jetski off the coast of Northland.

Husband and wife Lewis and Alyssa Allen were sailing through Bream Bay, near Whangārei, when they heard a mayday call over the radio on Saturday afternoon.

Knowing they were only about five kilometres out and the only vessel nearby, Lewis wrote down the coordinates and steered his yacht north, against choppy sea and strong winds.

Spotting the man from near that location, but knowing their yacht couldn’t reach him, Alyssa didn’t think twice before leaping into the freezing water to bring him back to safety.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/300279730/couple-jump-into-water-to-rescue-man-clinging-to-jetski-for-two-hours-near-whangrei

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1 hour ago, ex Elly said:

left it all to the helicopter

You must have missed the bit where she said he was having difficulty keeping his head above water. You must have also missed the bit where it said every second counts.

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That was my thoughts Elly. It is very common, especially at beach rescues, that there are multiple fatalities, when the rescuers get in trouble too.

There is no mention of the capabilities of the lady. She may have been a surf lifeguard for years. We don't know. Without intending to be rude, I'd take a punt the average crew.ord-er would be more of a liability in the water than a help, in that situation. I certainly wouldn't enter the water without a wetsuit and fins, and prob a PFD. Definitely would not jump in in my jokies... Looks like she had a T shirt on. As Kevin comments, would I have time to get kited up?

The big question is ease of getting back onto the boat. I see the cat has one of those low transoms and a ladder. My boat is far more complicated to get back onto. Just a stern ladder up the transom. Because of that, I've got a rescue sling I could winch someone up with. But only if they could get it over their shoulders first...

Sounds like the lady saved a life on Saturday though. Credit.

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Its alright, Jetski's are invincible, didn't you know?

Did he have no LJ, or was it under his jacket? Most LJ's wont keep you head above wave chop.

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Love the "freezing waters" comment.

However I take offence at Fish's slight on the abilities of crew.org'ers to effect rescues.

Here's my list and I bet there are plenty on here with more than this:

Unmanned yachts drifting out to sea, 3x, Gt Barrier, Whitianga and Bodrum.

Tow in of broken down power boats, 3x, Arid, Motiti and Coromandel

Rescued swimmer in trouble with the tide, Tairua (I did that on a windsurfer)

Rescued windsurfer with gear failure drifting out to sea, France, (she was gorgeous, no hardship at all)

Rescued dinghy with one occupant heading out to sea with failed engine, Vavau.

Refloated two yachts swept on to a reef (other yachties involved for sure), Tobago Cays.

 

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My apologies darkside, I wasn't meaning to cause offence (although some have said I have a natural ability for it).

My specific comment was around the ability or wisdom to enter the water to effect a rescue (and get back onto your own boat).

To put the comment another way, who could meet the fitness test for a surf club member / lifeguard qualification (needed to compete in surf club comps). It is to swim 400 m in 9 min, I believe in open water.

I know I can't do that in 9 min in a nice warm indoor pool...

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It was a joke Fish. If you boat long enough you will help people out for sure.

The Tobago Cays one was interesting however as all the Kiwis and Ozzies yachties rushed to help, and, no one else. 

They just watched.

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1 hour ago, darkside said:

 

The Tobago Cays one was interesting however as all the Kiwis and Ozzies yachties rushed to help, and, no one else. 

They just watched.

Wish that was always the case.  Only time I nearly lost a boat was outside a marina in moderate conditions when engine stopped (air in the fuel line). Lotsa fiznasties passing by and none responded to calls for help. Had to wait for CG while fending off the sea wall. 
 

Always glad to have paid my subs and make donations

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I've rescued a few people in surf rips back in the day. The trick is worth knowing. If they can tread water just go out and tread water with them. It's incredibly hard not to panic when you see the beach disappearing so you need to reassure yourself and them. Don't get close to the victim if you can avoid it or they'll pull you under. Just reassure them and tell them help is on the way and we'll probably just get washed back to the beach soon. On one occasion on 90 mile beach in Victoria help was nowhere (LOL) and we were washed back in about 15 mins. On another occasion me and the victim got calmly back to the beach long before another would be rescuer nearly drowned himself trying to fight the rip. Me and the victim took 10 minutes to walk back along the beach just in time to see the poor sod staggering up the beach vomiting water and collapse. Then he and his wife balled their eyes out (no disrespect, he didn't know the trick).

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23 minutes ago, Kevin McCready said:

I've rescued a few people in surf rips back in the day. The trick is worth knowing. If they can tread water just go out and tread water with them. It's incredibly hard not to panic when you see the beach disappearing so you need to reassure yourself and them. Don't get close to the victim if you can avoid it or they'll pull you under. Just reassure them and tell them help is on the way and we'll probably just get washed back to the beach soon. On one occasion on 90 mile beach in Victoria help was nowhere (LOL) and we were washed back in about 15 mins. On another occasion me and the victim got calmly back to the beach long before another would be rescuer nearly drowned himself trying to fight the rip. Me and the victim took 10 minutes to walk back along the beach just in time to see the poor sod staggering up the beach vomiting water and collapse. Then he and his wife balled their eyes out (no disrespect, he didn't know the trick).

What do you do if they can't tread water Kevin? 

Your story there isn't inspiring me with any confidence. If anything, it reinforces the point of how quickly things can go wrong.

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41 minutes ago, Kevin McCready said:

Fish, I'm not trying to inspire you. What do you think I'd do if they couldn't tread water?

I don't know what you would do, that is why I asked you.

ex Elly made a comment earlier about 'why not just wait for the rescue helicopter', of which you replied as below. Your above post points out that it is dangerous getting too close to a victim "Don't get too close if you can avoid it or they will pull you under". These are coming across as a little contradictory.

I am trying to determine what I would do if confronted with the same situation. I know I can't pass a surf lifeguard fitness test, cause I tried it recently. I do know that it is common for rescuers to drown, you recount a very near miss in your post above. At what point is one conducting a rescue, becoming a liability, or becoming a fatality themselves?

It is one thing rescuing someone from a boat, it is an entirely different proposition rescuing someone by getting into the water. That is what is so noteworthy about this story, the lady entered the water to effect the rescue. In my view, that is rather high risk.

On 18/04/2021 at 4:48 PM, Kevin McCready said:

You must have missed the bit where she said he was having difficulty keeping his head above water. You must have also missed the bit where it said every second counts.

 

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52 minutes ago, Kevin McCready said:

Fish, I'm not trying to inspire you. What do you think I'd do if they couldn't tread water?

Do tell Kevin.What would you do?You wont know they cant tread water until you there and as you said not approach as they can pull you under.

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2 minutes ago, harrytom said:

Do tell Kevin.What would you do?You wont know they cant tread water until you there and as you said not approach as they can pull you under.

I do know this is why lifeguards use those red rescue tube thingees. So they can keep the victim at arms length. In the standard domestic beach situation I think it would be wise to take some sort of floating device with you. Body board, surfboard. If your on a yacht, obviously the life ring. But there is an underlying message here. Rescues are dangerous, it is wise to take a moment and think things through rather than just diving in. A - to increase the odds of saving the person, but B - to make sure you don't drown as well.

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1 minute ago, Fish said:

I do know this is why lifeguards use those red rescue tube thingees. So they can keep the victim at arms length. In the standard domestic beach situation I think it would be wise to take some sort of floating device with you. Body board, surfboard. If your on a yacht, obviously the life ring. But there is an underlying message here. Rescues are dangerous, it is wise to take a moment and think things through rather than just diving in. A - to increase the odds of saving the person, but B - to make sure you don't drown as well.

I often wonder how many times the rescuer needs rescuing and we just don't hear about it.   I dont think I would of jumped but as you suggested toss a lifering/lifejacket anything they could grab hold of.Make sure a line was attached then you could(hopefully) pull them to your vessel and climb up ladder.All very easy to sit here in the calm but in a seaway things go wrong quickly as we all know too well.

Might of mentioned it before. Took a group of scouts to a wave pool got one to jump and try and put a life jacket on. They all failed and could see why we insisted jackets worn at all times.

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