It’s confronting vision – every boat fisher’s nightmare. A boat’s bow pointing upward, like an iceberg, with the rest of the hull submerged.
The footage of skipper Floyd Bochenek scrambling to get his lifejacket on 30km off the coast as his boat sinks to the ocean’s floor 46m below is a stark warning and timely reminder for all WA boat fishers.
“It was the scariest thing ever,” Floyd told Recfishwest.
“It’s so important to have the safety gear close by, because everything happens so quickly.”
The footage shows exactly how fast it can happen and why every boat fisher needs to make sure safety equipment works and is on hand when heading out regardless of weather conditions.
Thankfully Floyd and his friend made it back to dry land and after Saturday’s incident – in the event they were very lucky indeed.
There was an EPIRB and flares on deck in a drybag, however, once the boat started taking on water, Floyd and his mate had less than 30 seconds before they were in the water as seen in the footage.
But, then there was the horrible realisation that the drybag had gone down with the boat.
If it wasn’t for their radio mayday call before the vessel completely went under, the tugboat and crew which rescued them may have never arrived.
Make sure you come home safe after a day’s fishing
Saturday’s incident shows why safe fishing considerations should figure in everyone’s preparations before going out on the water – part of which means having all your safety gear in working order and to hand with a few precious, life-saving seconds.
“We want to see everyone return safe from a day’s fishing, but ultimately, it’s your responsibility,” Recfishwest CEO Dr Andrew Rowland said.
“One way you can check you’ve got it covered is by completing the Department of Transport’s 30-second boat safety challenge.”
The initiative tests if people can gather flares, an EPIRB, make a radio call and put a lifejacket on in 30 seconds.
Maintaining safety gear and ensuring it is within arms’ reach if something is to go wrong, could be the difference between a successful rescue and a boating tragedy, Dr Rowland said.
“For Floyd, being able to make a radio mayday call and having working lifejackets proved a lifesaver, despite the fact the flares and EPIRP quickly went down with the fast-sinking boat,” he said.
“We’re glad that you’re safe, Floyd, and thank you for sharing your story in an effort to help others stay safe while out there fishing.”