Bumbling boatie says he might buy microlight

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 morning.

Those comments would perhaps send a shudder through the emergency services personnel involved in his rescue on Wednesday night.

Earlier on Wednesday, Mr Webb had left Bluff with the intention of mooring his new vessel at its new base, Deborah Bay.

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 Jaquiery.
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 Jaquiery.
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 out.

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.

 

 

 

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