2 January 2024

Fisherman comes to the rescue for stranded yachtie

| Cape York Weekly
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The crew of the Arafura Queen back at the Cooktown wharf. Skipper Wade went out in one of the dories to rescue a local yachtie in rough conditions, drawing the praise of the local Coast Guard.

Friday was one for the books for local yachtie Neil, whose boat started dragging around midnight as record-breaking levels of water pumped out the mouth of Cooktown’s Endeavour River.

Cooktown Coast Guard deputy commander Nick Davidson said they were alerted when Neil set off his EPIRB around midnight.

“It was the middle of the night and we didn’t have a visual on him, but we were in communication with him,” Mr Davidson told Cape York Weekly.

“He wasn’t quite sure where he was, and we couldn’t see him with spotlights from the waterfront.”

Mr Davidson said launching a boat in the raging river was a very risky operation, and Neil bravely decided to weather the storm aboard his yacht and stay in communication with the Coast Guard.

“It is a pretty tough old boat, and by the morning it had dragged pretty much to the north shore and Neil had swum ashore,” he said.

“The guys off the Arafura Queen, Wade and his crew, they were really active in the harbour, their dories had a lot more grunt than the Coast Guard tender. They went and picked him up off north shore and brought him back.

“I would really like to give a shout out to those guys.

“They were very active dragging boats in and really on their game.”

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