Paul Grant and Barry Kedge had been fishing near 3 Mile Reef, about 3.7km south-west of Ocean Reef, and had anchored their 5.8m half cabin boat behind the reef before it was hit.
Mr Grant was thrown from the boat and landed inshore of the reef, while Mr Kedge was trapped in the upside-down cabin before he was able to escape and get on top of the vessel. A passing boat saw the capsized vessel and raised the alarm.
‘Whitfords Volunteer Sea Rescue scrambled Green 2, our fast response boat, which was there in minutes,’ crew member Ian Jones said. ‘The passing boat picked up the fisherman in the water, but was unable to get close enough in safely to pick up the guy on the boat.
‘The boat was very close to the reef in a bit of a maelstrom and at the time the wind had come up.’
He said despite Green 2 being designed for these weather conditions and having inflatable tubes, enclosed deck and powerful engines, it still could not get close enough to get Mr Kedge from on top of the capsized boat.
‘A lifebuoy and rope was thrown, the ladder was lowered and he was asked to jump and swim a couple of metres to the lifebuoy, which he did and he was recovered into the boat,’ Mr Jones said.
He said WVSR was grateful for the support of people aboard a passing boat, who stayed close to provide extra support if needed.
Both men were taken to Ocean Reef Boat Harbour and advised to seek medical aid for bruises, cuts and possible concussion.
Meanwhile, rescue vessel Green 1 attempted to recover the capsized boat.
‘The swell and waves were at the time too strong, so the boat was left capsized at anchor and floating with the aim of returning on Sunday,’ Mr Jones said.
During this time, the Green 1 was damaged when a line with a grapnel released and hit the windscreen but overnight it was replaced temporarily to keep the boat in operation.
Green 2 returned the next day with a jet ski owned and helmed by an off-duty volunteer, and crew members were able to cut the capsized boat free and tow it 100m east of the reef before it was transferred to Green 1, and towed back to the boat harbour where they used a 4WD to turn the boat back over.
– WVSR will be at Hillarys Boat Harbour, 10am to noon, this Saturday for Ready, Set, Wear It! ” a world record attempt at the most life jackets worn. Tyler Brown