Eastern Courier : December 29th 2010
www.easterncourier.co.nz Wednesday, December 29, 2010 Close call: Maraetai Coastguard crew chief Chris Wilks, left, and Robbie Roxburgh, who was rescued when his dinghy capsized. Photo: SHANE WENZLICK Lifejackets save day By KRISTINA RAPLEY A DAY out on the water this summer could cost you your life if you're not prepared. Maraetai farmer Robbie Roxburgh nearly found that out the hard way and now wants to warn others. Wear lifejackets, it's a must,'' he says. Mr Roxburgh and his nephew Steven Gapes were returning to on Maraetai Beach after fishing when the outboard motor on their dinghy stopped and they were thrown into the water. The whole boat just tipped over,'' Mr Roxburgh says. It was dead calm but I couldn't see anything. I thought we must have hit a shark or something.'' Both men were wearing lifejackets and were about 50 metres from the boat ramp so they decided to hold on to the overturned dinghy and start swimming to shore. That was a silly mistake now that I think about it because we were swimming but not getting anywhere because of the current. We were struggling,'' he says. My nephew was very quiet and I was quite worried about him.'' Maraetai Coastguard members were already out on the water on a night training run when they came across the two men in trouble at around 9.30pm. Crew chief Chris Wilks says they pulled them into the boat and were extremely worried about Mr Gapes. When we got to them he was just lying in the water and was really quiet -- and that's not a good sign. Those are the ones you really have to worry about.'' The two men were shaking uncontrollably, their teeth were chattering and they were showing signs of stage two hypothermia. Coastguard called the ambulance who were at an accident in Beachlands and only minutes away. Both men were seen by medics and Mr Gapes was taken to Middlemore Hos- pital where he stayed over- night. The doctor said another 15 minutes longer in the water could have proved fatal. The thing that saved these guys was their lifejackets without a doubt,'' Mr Wilks says. He says people not wearing lifejackets will drown before they die from hypothermia. Mr Roxburgh is grateful to the Coastguard crew. They do a fantastic job.'' Mr Wilks urges all boaties to follow the rules and be safe this summer. They should always have at least two forms of communication on board, a cellphone and a VHF marine radio. He says anyone talking on a cellphone can only be heard by one other person. With a VHF radio you're talking to everybody who is around you. If you're in trouble there could be a boat near you that can be there within minutes.'' Mr Wilks says people should tell somebody where they're going and when they're coming back before going on the water. Coastguard doesn't want people to hesitate calling them because they think they might get into trouble. We don't care what trouble you are in or how you got into it, we are there to help and that's it.'' Visit www.coastguard.org.nz for more information. NEW YEAR SALE! AVANTIPLUS BOTANY STARTS JAN 2ND 2011 - SEE BACK PAGE FOR DETAILS S 15% OFF ALL BIKES!
December 22nd 2010
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