Two Rye teenagers, Ed Fuggle and Ben Brunton, spent the best part of Australia Day saving a man’s life.
Rye Yacht Club, located on the Mornington Peninsula, Victoria, is one of 68 Victorian sailing clubs who support Discover Sailing days - an initiative whereby sailing clubs around Australia offer a free sailing experience to the public. On Australia Day, Rye Yacht Club conducted such a day but had to call the day short after conditions became too rough.
A Jet Ski enthusiast had been enjoying the morning conditions when the sea state began to change as the wind picked up. Consequently, he was hit by a wave and knocked off his jet ski. He was left stranded offshore alone for more than an hour and a half in the rough conditions leading him to suffer from hypothermia and exhaustion.
The two teenagers, Ed Fuggle and Ben Brunton, were volunteering at the Discover Sailing day when they decided to take a Laser (dinghy) out to enjoy the increasing winds, given the event had come to an end for the day.
As they were sailing they, by chance, saw the man in the water. One of the boys swam over to him and after realising that the needed attention fast signalled to his sailing partner to get help. Quickly thinking, the other young sailor capsized his boat to gain the awareness of the Rye Yacht Club safety boat. The safety team swiftly arrived and were able to bring him to shore and provide first aid until the ambulance arrived.
Michael Vandertop, Commodore of Rye Yacht Club, stated: “It was a combination of good decision making made by the boys and effective coordination of the Rye Yacht Club rescue team that had this become a success story.
“If there’s anything to learn from this experience it’s to ensure you take the right safety precautions whenever heading on to the water including informing people where you are going, how long you will be out, always wearing the appropriate clothing and checking the weather forecast in advance. We are glad everyone is ok” Michael added.
The attending Paramedics and Police praised the two boys for their efforts and their quick thinking in what could have easily been a tragedy. It was speculated that had the boys found him 5 – 10 minutes later the man could have perished.
CEO of Yachting Victoria, Steve Walker, added:
"We are very proud of these two young sailors who showed their expertise and capability, developed through their sailing, and are relieved and delighted they were able to apply that to this rescue."
Congratulations to these two young heroes and hopefully a full and speedy recovery to our jet-skiing friend.
By Kate Lathouras - Yachting Victoria Media