I may have been on the boat for a while, but being on the other side of things is a whole different experience. I have been on the radio for several jobs that are interesting one was in 2007 on a Thursday night after the quicksilver pro was finished or was nearly finished.
One night there was a phone call from a local top surfer who rang the radio room up at Point Danger informing me his friends had broken down out at sea. He provided me with their number so I could inform them, help was being provided. After I had made a phone call to the people on the boat and activated the boat crew who would be making their way down to the boat. I received a call from the local media asking me, how long it would take to retrieve the people. I responded by telling them that it was night and it all depended on the conditions.
There was a reason for the media attention was due to the fact the three men on the broken down boat had actually been involved in the local surfing competition. They were well known to the surfing community. I did inform the people to drop their anchor so they would stop drifting. The next people to turn up at the radio room were two ladies from a local news paper. The ladies asked questions were present, when the rescue boat had been launched and crossed the Tweed bar. To make matters worse, lightening could be seen out to sea. The men on the boat could see the rescue boat and asked me if they could let a flare off. I informed them that they were not in any immediate danger and to flash the rescue boat with their torch instead.
While the rescue boat was taking the people to the boat ramp, they had requested, the reporters left to meet the boat. They left their laptop behind, since they would return. Reading what they had written showed me they had actually misquoted me or misunderstood what I had meant. I could have rewritten the article for them, but decided against it. This was the first time I actually had conducted a rescue from the radio room and found it involved plenty of waiting around for something to happen.
The second nightmarish job I had to perform one night was when a yacht containing a single person was reported missing. The single occupant of the boat was 79 years old. The police were able to communicate with him via mobile and they asked for my assistance. I activated the crew members to launch the rescue boat and I was able to get in contact with the sailor. The man was unable to help me as he could not read any of his equipment or tell me where he was. By the time the rescue boat was out in the dark ocean with no moon for guidance the ocean was very rough and high. After what seemed to be an hour the rescue boat could not find the yacht. They informed me they could not stay out any longer as the ocean was too rough. At the time I had attempted to get the man to let off a flare, when the mobile phone went flat. I informed the police the rescue boat had to return due to the conditions.
The search recommenced the next day, where a light aircraft found the yacht not far from where the rescue boat had been searching. The rescue boat was sent to assist in retrieving the old man and his boat. During the job, the rescue boat sustained a broken window, when the yacht’s bow went through the window. When on crew duty later in the week, we met the old man. The man had sailed around the world and was in need of a hip replacement. His sails had been shredded and had a broken rudder, which meant all he could do was circles.
Volunteering is fun, eventful and well worth it, when you perform acts, which pays off hours of training. For the record, yes you do get annoying crew members that you want to drown. The entire crew had an instant dislike to a new person, who had joined us. The young man was 18 years old and a bodybuilder, who gave advice that, was not needed. He was attempting to inform me how to drive the rescue boat. On one tow job he would not keep quiet and attempted to tell the local boaties that they should stop the dredging of the bar. For some reason he loved those high caffeinated drinks.