Two men and a child were just seconds from have been rescued from a life-threatening situation during a fishing trip on Jervis Bay.
Crew from Marine Rescue Jervis Bay said it was their most challenging rescue yet as they described having just seconds to spare to rescue the boat from smashing on rocks.
The crew were called to action by the skipper of the failed boat around 11.30am on Sunday, October 15 after it suffered mechanical failure and was drifting near Bowen Island.
Marine Rescue vessels Jervis Bay 20 and Jervis Bay 41 were already on the water taking part in a training exercise when the call for help came in.
Jervis Bay 20 was deployed with unit commander Kevin Hill and senior crew member John Dawson on board to assist.
With no anchor and drifting towards rocks, the skipper of the disabled vessel estimated they would run aground within 10 minutes.
"It was a race against time and we proceeded as fast as we safely could," Mr Hill said.
"The swell was substantial and as we arrived on the eastern side of Bowen Island we couldn't locate the vessel and feared the worst.
"As John and I scanned the coastline for a possible wrecked boat we spotted the disabled vessel off Governor Head, metres from the breaking surf.
"We had seconds to respond," Mr Hill said.
The Jervis Bay 20 crew reached the disabled vessel and performed a fly-by towline throw, which was attached by the crew on the disabled vessel.
Mr Hill said he was relieved to see the two men and child return to land.
"This was without doubt the most challenging rescue mission I have ever been involved in during my decade with the unit," he said.
"It literally came down to seconds and this incident could have ended with serious injuries or even fatalities.
"I cannot commend senior crew John Dawson highly enough for his actions - he was so calm during what was an incredibly tense and dangerous situation for the persons on board the disabled vessel.
"Marine Rescue Jervis Bay Radio Operators Martin Mikosch and Julie Carter also played a vital role during the rescue, they were brilliant with their communications," Mr Hill said.
"A few seconds difference in our response time could have led to a total disaster," Mr Dawson said.
Mr Hill said the skipper of the boat was well prepared with the correct safety equipment.
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