17 December 2018
A quick chat to a couple heading out in a tinny may have helped them survive when their tinny overturned recently.
Port Lincoln Marine Safety Officer Hank Swalu caught up with the pair when he noticed them preparing to head out into the Whyalla Marina as weather was turning bad.
Soon after their conversation the couple's boat was swamped by a wave and overturned, leaving them to swim for shore.
"Their vessel was less than 4.8m and I thought I'd just go over to inspect their safety gear and make sure they were aware of the new legislation which requires them to wear lifejackets in a vessel of that size," Hank says.
"They were aware of the legislation and made sure they put their lifejackets on before they headed out to sea.
"I jumped in the car to head back to Port Lincoln and received a call from Whyalla Sea Rescue to say the couple's boat had overturned but they made it back to shore safely, with some help from lifesavers who had been training on a nearby beach."
Their vessel was recovered by Sea Rescue Squadron volunteers.
Hank says the event shows how quickly things can change when you're on the water and why knowing and following new lifejacket legislation is so necessary.
"And people need to plan carefully before they launch the vessel, especially if it's a new area to them, as it was in this case," Hank says.
"It's important to know what the tide's doing and the weather's going to be, especially in small tinnies as they can become unstable in heavy seas."