Third boat capsize in four weeks prompts warning from Tasmania Police


Three men have swum to shore after their boat capsized off Tasmania’s west coast, in the state’s third boating mishap in the past month.

Emergency services received a call via mobile phone about 7:30pm on Saturday from the trio requesting assistance after their boat overturned.

Police said the location was given as less than 10 kilometres south of Cape Sorell. 

It is not known how far the trio had to swim to shore.

The helicopter was unable to take off from Hobart to help with the rescue due to bad weather so police dispatched a land-based team. 

In a statement, police said they sustained only minor injuries “coming ashore through waves” and their 3.5-metre aluminium dinghy sank. 

Police said the men, all west coast locals, were “cold and wet” but otherwise able to walk as they made their way to shacks located on the western side of Macquarie Heads.

A shack owner then took them across Macquarie Heads to their camp. 

‘Rogue waves’ an issue for west coast

Police said the incident served as a warning that boat operators need “a high degree of caution, especially when setting or checking cray pots close to shore”. 

“Inexperience and the potential for rogue waves can have tragic consequences,” the statement said.

Police said the incident also highlighted the need to have “flares and an emergency beacon easily accessible in the event of an incident”. 

Police said the men were fortunate to have been within mobile phone range as they did not activate an EPIRB or set off flares. 

There have been two recent fatal boating incidents, the most recent on Friday.

In total, three people have died and a fourth person remains missing and is presumed drowned.

Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) has also called on boat owners to ensure weather conditions were suitable and their boat was up to the task before heading out on the water.

MAST’s Peter Hopkins said incidents per 1,000 trips were declining but boat owners needed to be prepared.

“Once you’re on the wrong water and you make the wrong decision you’re in the trouble, the best bit of safety equipment you’ve got is your head and making that right decision,” Mr Hopkins said.

“The second-best bit of safety you’ve got is your boat and making sure that that’s up to scratch and ready to go.”


Read More:Third boat capsize in four weeks prompts warning from Tasmania Police