A bumbling boatie slated by emergency services says he could
easily have been flying a microlight instead instead of
helming a boat.
Before buying a boat a fortnight ago, Dunedin truck driver
Colin Webb had contemplated purchasing a microlight.
"I was ... I still am," he said while being ferried towards
his stranded vessel, Impact, at Taieri Mouth yesterday
Those comments would perhaps send a shudder through the
emergency services personnel involved in his rescue on
Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Webb had left Bluff with the
intention of mooring his new vessel at its new base, Deborah
So far so good.
However, after running aground at Pounawea, in the Catlins,
he decided to seek shelter at Taieri Mouth.
"Just as I came across the back of the island, the engine
room caught on fire ... so I panicked a bit."
Skipper Colin Webb tosses a pot of water out the wheelhouse
window in an attempt to refloat the vessel Impact, which
was stranded on a sand bar at Taieri Mouth on Wednesday.
Also on board is his friend Chris Garvan. Photo by Stephen
A short time later, the 10m vessel ran aground on the
south side of the Taieri Mouth bar, so he set off a flare
(result: went horizontal and almost hit a house), and then
another (result: set off inside his boat).
"I was trying to attract attention and I wasn't getting any.
The next minute there were police cars, fire engines and
ambulances [turning up]".
He could not find the right channel on his radio to contact
emergency services, and then the battery on his cellphone ran
In the dark and with the vessel being pounded by waves, he
was rescued by Brighton Surf Life Saving members Rhys
McAlevey and Lance Lungley in an inflatable boat.
Mr Webb said the only thing injured was "my pride".
He and his friend, Chris Garvan, returned to the vessel
yesterday morning in the hope of floating it free at high
tide. That was unsuccessful and Mr Webb was last seen bailing
water out of the vessel with a saucepan.
Taieri Mouth marine search and rescue adviser Keith Simon
said the vessel was towed off the sand bar and to the Taieri
Mouth wharf just before high tide at 9.30 last night by the
Schemer and Mantaray.