by Ken McManus
This afternoon a young boy and his father swept out to sea on a body board off Bherwerre Beach on the Illawarra coast have been safely rescued by volunteers from Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet.
Sussex Inlet 30 in action.
Family members on shore raised the alarm when the pair was caught in a rip and carried out beyond the break zone shortly before 2.30pm.
Police contacted the nearby Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet unit, which immediately launched its new Phoenix rescue vessel, Sussex Inlet 30, to retrieve the father and son.
Launching the vessel within six minutes of receiving the call for help, Skipper Tom Dunlop and crew members James Stretton and Keith Jackson were on the scene in less than 20 minutes, after carefully negotiating a low tide in the Sussex Inlet.
Mr Stretton said the young boy, aged about 10, had been scared but otherwise both surfers had been in good condition when rescued from the open waters just north of the Sussex bar.
He said the crew had brought the pair back across the bar and dropped them on the beach, where they were met by their relieved family and Jervis Bay Commonwealth Police officers.
MR Sussex Inlet Unit Commander John Lang praised his members’ quick response to the emergency and skill in navigating the low tide in the inlet to reach the pair swiftly and return them to safety.