kayakers 141113"Two vessels from St Kilda Coast Guard responded to a radio call on Sunday afternoon from a ship departing the Port of Melbourne, reporting that a kayak had overturned south of the breakwater at Williamstown, and a person was in the water in the vicinity of the Shipping Channel.

The first Coast Guard vessel arrived on scene within 6 minutes to find two men in their kayaks, with a third man in the water, struggling with the rough seas. With the help of the other two in his group, the man managed to climb back in to his kayak and the trio continued to paddle to shore. Due to the rough conditions, both a Coast Guard and a Port Security vessel stayed alongside the group, with the second Coast Guard vessel diverted to a report of a boat on the rocks just offshore from the Willamstown Football Oval.

Within minutes the Coast Guard vessel that remained with the kayakers was contacted by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade boat, reporting that they had located a lone kayaker a short distance away who had become separated from his three friends, and was unsure of their whereabouts. This fourth man, who had started his journey with the other three kayakers, was removed from the water by the MFB’s Fire Boat 1, along with the man who had originally fallen in and was continuing to struggle with the conditions.

With two of the kayakers safely onboard the Fire Boat, the remaining two paddled their way slowly towards Port Melbourne, escorted by the Coat Guard. The group of four was finally reunited at Sandridge Beach.

st-kilda-coast-cuard 141113Coast Guard’s Steve Goddard, who was onboard at the time, said “Conditions on Port Phillip can change quickly, and it’s important that people check the weather before they go out onto the water. The fact that one of the group became separated and could not see the other three, despite being only 300 meters from them, is an indication of how tricky things can get.”

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