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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Hypothermia near miss prompts warning from Marine Rescue

A straight forward rescue for the volunteers of Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet quickly turned into a medical emergency yesterday, when a solo yachtsman became seriously ill with hypothermia.

Just after 9am a call was received saying that a yachtsman aboard a small 4 metre sail mono-hull had capsized 400 metres off Macleans Point in the St Georges Basin, with the skipper unable to right the vessel.

A rescue team aboard Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet 20 was quickly on the scene, taking the

yachtsman on board.

Marine Rescue Sussex Inlet Deputy Unit Commander Tony Pollard said once on board, the man’s condition quickly deteriorated.

“When we first got him on board he seemed ok, just a bit cold, but he very quickly became delirious and weak,” Mr Pollard said.

“An ambulance was called and met us at the Nielsons Boat Ramp, where he was treated by the paramedics before being taken home to recover.”

“The whole experience was a real eye opener, seeing how quickly hypothermia can take hold and the serious effects it can have.”

Marine Rescue Deputy Commissioner Operations Alex Barrell said that the incident was a timely reminder that across the state water temperatures are now at their coldest point for the year, and without a wetsuit or proper clothing, boaters and paddlers can quickly succumb to hypothermia if they become wet, particularly if it is windy.

“Signs of hypothermia include shivering, exhaustion, drowsiness, slurred speech and disorientation,” Mr Barrell said.

“It is essential that anyone exhibiting these symptoms are treated quickly by moving the person to a warm, dry place or sheltering them from the elements, taking off any wet clothing and covering them with a blanket or dry clothes, and having them drink a warm beverage until professional medical treatment can be obtained.”

‘It is also essential that boaters and paddlers dress appropriately before heading out on the water.”


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