Ballina Jet Boat volunteer Eve Clare during the salvage of a boat that capsized on the Ballina Bar on Sunday, March 30, 2014.
Ballina Jet Boat volunteer Eve Clare during the salvage of a boat that capsized on the Ballina Bar on Sunday, March 30, 2014.

Lucky escape by boaties underlines danger of Ballina Bar

UPDATE 9am: TWO fishermen dumped into the water on the Ballina Bar when their boat capsized yesterday are experienced boaties who know the bar well, Ballina Jetboat captain Garry Meredith says.

The men were fortunate to escape unharmed when their boat capsized while crossing the bar.

Mr Meredith said the owner of the boat had been following the best practice method of crossing the bar as he brought his boat back into the Richmond River after a fishing expedition on open water.

"What the guys were saying is they've done a lot of bar crossings," he said. "What you do (when entering the river mouth) is hop on the back of a wave and follow it in.

"He was doing that and then the wave just disappeared and he had two breaking waves come up on both sides and it rolled him over."

The two men were picked up by a private vessel and the jet boat managed to salvage the stricken boat by tying on to it and towing it to lift it from the water and drain it. A jet boat volunteer then swam over and bailed out the rest of the water before it was towed back to Fishery Creek.

Mr Meredith said the boat's owner had his equipment so well stowed he lost almost nothing in the incident.

The incident underlined how tricky and unpredictable the Ballina Bar could be, even for people experienced in its ways.

The recent rain made the bar even more unpredictable at the moment, because it meant extra water, along with objects washed downstream, were pushing into the bar and changing the flow of the water.

6.07am: TWO fishermen had a lucky escape when their boat capsized at the entrance to the Richmond River in Ballina yesterday.

Marine Rescue were contacted at 12.43pm and the Ballina Lismore Surf Life Saving Club and Ballina Jet Boat Rescue Group were sent to retrieve them.

But the men were picked up by another recreational boat before they arrived.

They were taken to the Fisheries Creek Boat Ramp and their boat was later recovered and returned to them.

Jimmy Keogh from Surf Life saving Far North Coast said apart from being a bit wet and embarrassed, the two men had not sustained any injuries.

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