We spoke with 295 Station Forster about a multi agency response that occurred for a sinking boat.
On 11/01/2017 at 17:14 FRNSW Pumper 295 and Rescue Tanker 295 were responded to reports of a sinking boat. On arrival we found a boat listing heavily by the stern with passers-by helping the boat skipper bail water. The boat looked like it about to sink by the stern in a matter of minutes.
We searched the boat to determine who was on board and how much water it had taken on. We carried 2 portable pumps on and got to work drafting water from the engine room. Crews that were working inside the cabin and hull used breathing apparatus using extension lines due to carbon monoxide fumes.
We were challenged with the portable pumps not being able to remove the water quickly enough – we weren’t winning and the boat was still sinking.
Additional resource were requested in the form of Hazmat Tanker 453 Taree and a Rural Fire Service boat from Tuncurry, both to be used for extra pumping power. It was clear we needed to try something different and it was suggested we use the suction hoses from the pumper. We weren’t entirely sure if we had the distance or if it would work, but decided to try as the extra resources we called for were still some time away.
This made a noticeable difference and when the RFS boat pulled along side, they used their pump to draft water out as well. With these resources working together it was more than enough to remove the water.
Both the SES and Marine Rescue attended to assist with lighting and towing the boat if it was required. Once the water was pumped out, the boat was moved further down to the local slipway and removed from the water later that night.