Fisheries officer who were patrolling near Victor Harbor for end-of-season recreational Rock Lobster pots ended up returning to shore with more than just stray pots.
On 9 June, Fisheries Officers Pat Tripodi and Chris Coomber set off on patrol between the Murray Mouth and Cape Jervis in search of any Rock Lobster pots that hadn’t been removed from the water prior to the May 31 ban.
About 2.45pm, with four now-illegal Rock Lobster pots on board, they spotted something amiss near Tunk Head.
“There was a bright orange colour in the water near the shoreline and, given it was out of place, it really caught our attention,” said Fisheries Officer Tripodi.
“So we altered our course and headed a few miles inshore where we discovered a stricken vessel with two men onboard and flat batteries.
“They had used a V sheet to attract our attention – that’s a large orange PVC sheet with a large black V which is an internationally recognised signal for a vessel in distress.”
After conducting some fast fuel calculations to work out whether they could safely tow the boat to shore without themselves running out of fuel, Officers Tripodi and Coomber hitched the boat to theirs and towed them the 12 nautical miles back to Victor Harbor.
“The guys were very relieved and thankful, as they had consigned themselves to spending a cold night at sea until someone found them the next morning,” said Fisheries Officer Coomber.
“It was great feeling to have helped them avoid that fate.”