A man had a lucky escape as his yacht sunk on the Ballina bar on Thursday afternoon.
A man had a lucky escape as his yacht sunk on the Ballina bar on Thursday afternoon. contributed

Yacht wreckage poses threat to boaties

Update 3.30pm: THOSE taking to the water at Ballina have been warned to be aware of lingering debris after a yacht was destroyed near the bar crossing this week.

Marine Rescue Ballina unit commander Doug Hunter said Roads and Maritime Services crews were working to locate and extract the 25-foot yacht from the water.

While it sunk about 500m offshore near Ballina's north wall on Thursday afternoon, Mr Hunter said they were not yet certain of the vessel's location.

A Ballina Jet Boat team tried to tow the yacht to shore after its skipper ran into trouble about 3.30pm, but they were unable to take it to Lighthouse Beach as its hull filled with water, Mr Hunter said.

"Maritime Services are looking into how they might be able to find it and what they can do with it," Mr Hunter said.

The man who was operating the yacht has been recovering well after the incident, the severity of which is not often seen at Ballina, Mr Hunter said.

"It's very uncommon," he said.

"We don't often have boats or yachts sinking here."

It's understood the yacht was travelling from Forster to Brisbane and Mr Hunter said most yachts travelling past Ballina tended to remain much further out to see.

The yacht was crossing the area in front of the Richmond River mouth when it was swamped by waves.

Mr Hunter said Thursday's conditions were not ideal for sailing so close to shore.

"Our bar is always worse with a run-our tide," he said.

"If you've got a a bit of water in the river and estuaries (after rain), there's more water to run our, as well."

This combination saw the waves breaking much further out than usual, he said.

NSW Surf Life Saving Far North Coast duty officer Jimmy Keough said the vessel had already lost its mast during the trip north.

The man was brought to shore by the Ballina Jet Boat crew shortly after 4pm and was suffering chest pain and shortness of breath.

"It was a coordinated, joint agency effort with everyone responding quickly which made this rescue a success," he said.

"He is extremely lucky as the ocean conditions are expected to continue to deteriorate over the coming days," Mr Keough said.

Boaties have been urged to be aware of possible debris remaining in the area into the weekend.

 

Original story 5.38pm: A MAN is "extremely lucky" to be alive after his yacht was swamped by a large wave on the notorious Ballina bar.

The sailor was trying to cross the Richmond River entrance around 3.30pm yesterday in his 25-ft yacht.

However it was swamped by a wave and started taking on water near the northern breakwall.

A Surf Emergency Response System was activated by police.

NSW Surf Life Saving duty officer Jimmy Keough said the vessel had lost its mast during the trip north from Forster to Brisbane.

The Ballina Jet Rescue Boat, Surf Life Saving duty officers and the Far North Coast Support Operations Group all attended the incident along with NSW Maritime.

The man was brought to shore by the jet boat just after 4pm.

He was treated by paramedics and taken to hospital after ingesting some water and was experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath.

Mr Keough attended and said the man was lucky to have been rescued safely.

"It was a coordinated, joint agency effort with everyone responding quickly which made this rescue a success," he said.

"He is extremely lucky as the ocean conditions are expected to continue to deteriorate over the coming days."

The vessel was unable to towed across the bar due to the conditions and has sunk while being brought back to Lighthouse Beach.