View Full Version : 3 drown in tassie

23-04-2006, 06:16 PM
just heard on the news that 3 drowned, 5 on board, 2 rescued. 6 metre boat, "freak wave" (wish they would stop using that term).Tuna comp down south. no more details
thoughts are with the families

23-04-2006, 06:26 PM
Same Blaze,just heard the same info on the news here in Brisbane,lost a couple ourselves over the weekend,search is still on for a skipper of a trawler and a few swimmers as well.

(The deckie)

PS: Do you think you will make the journey to 1770 again this year??

23-04-2006, 06:28 PM
Yes, was a bad news weekend for us on the water

Apart from the tragedy down there, we had 2 drownings in the surf , a trawler skipper still missing and another drowning in Brissie River.

Add in the last weeks boating mishaps, and it is a timely reminder to us that use the water to be vigilant, be warey and never, never be complacent.

I hate hearing about people losing their lives in the surf. #Take into consideration the unbelieveable record of Surf Life Savers in Australia and then wonder why people still refuse to swim between the flags.

Thoughts go out to all affected families and friends.

Cheers #Phill

23-04-2006, 07:45 PM
Our thoughts and prayers are with all. The sea can be so unforgiving.

Dave and Sue

23-04-2006, 11:17 PM
Always very sad to hear of boating mishaps. The sea is such a mysterious medium and to be taken away from life by it just makes me feel creepy :-X

Thought and prayers for the families involved.

24-04-2006, 06:40 AM
Terrible .... :( and very, very sad :'(

Brings back memories Blaze ... We got caught out in the same competition down South.
Lost the boat and all the gear, but lived (just) to tell the tale.



24-04-2006, 08:40 AM
hi blaze.
I remember a fairly recent post where the term freak wave was used,(i think the post was about Sandon capsize) and the general feeling seemed to be they didn't exist.Is this your feeling or do you think they should be called something else.
In 30 years of spending much time on the water I've experienced on 2 occasions incidentes which I would call freak waves. luckily I was in deep water once the other I witnessed from the safety of land.
Don't know if that's what happened in Tassie but whatever happened the end result is the same.The sea can be cruel and unforgiving.
Words cannot comfort the families of those lost.Our thoughts are with them.

This is not intended to see if they do or don't exist.I would not be a believer if I had no personal experiences.
Cheers bear

24-04-2006, 11:27 AM
Hi Bear
been caught in some bloody big waves that have seeminly come out of now where, when analised in hindsight, check weather, tides ect they can be explained.
Can we be caught by unexpexted waves, damm right we can but they are not freaks.
If you look at wave rider bouys and check the peaks.
On the west coast of tassie we often have a peak 3 times the average.
just my thoughts

24-04-2006, 12:34 PM
Blaze Yea I agree but what do u think we should call these rare waves that come out of nowhere.As I said Iv'e only witnessed 2 in 30 years.I don,t know the dates to see if they regstered on bouyweather, or if they would register in very deep water where most bouys are.
I'm pretty sure they would be unpredictable.
The 2 times I witnessed these waves the sea was calm less than a meter,the wave that came through was probably around 5meter.Both times after the wave it was calm again.
One thing whatever there called i'm glad there fairly rare.
I guess the motto is be prepared

Cheers bear

24-04-2006, 01:20 PM
Hi Bear,

My recollection of the thread was as Blaze has said: it was generally accepted that there are often unexpected and unusually large waves, but the frequency of their occurrence (many people including yourself have witnessed them) is such that the term "freak wave" is probably inappropriate, particularly as they appear to have naturally occurring and explicable reasons for their formation.

It's a semantic issue of course, the terminology used just seems incorrect in light of this.

My condolences and sympathy is with the families' of those lost.

Good luck,

24-04-2006, 06:12 PM
Hyperthermia was apparently the cause of the deaths.


24-04-2006, 10:02 PM
i am origonally from down in tassie,the brother inlaw has a charter bussiness in the pennisular area and was fishing the same comp.the three men lost were his mates from the tuna club he is a member of .the whole comunity is very close and its a terrible loss.i have fished the area many times and the waves have to be seen to be beleived. i have seen a picture of a wave going over Hipalite Rock and it stands approx 80 ft out of the water. no place for the faint hearted. my thoughts go to all family and freinds.

24-04-2006, 10:40 PM
Warrior and Blaze,
Have they released names yet?

I would be interested (yet probably horrified) to know.

I have a lot of friends in the game fishing circle in Tassie.

PM me if you dont want to post here.



25-04-2006, 11:09 AM

Released late yesterday:

ABC News

Last Update: Tuesday, April 25, 2006. 9:04am (AEST)
Deaths prompt call for boating safety changes

Tasmania's fishing fraternity has suggested new boating safety requirements after the deaths of three men in southern waters on Sunday.

Pat Johnson, 59, his son Jason, 35 and grandson Joshua Colgrave, 15, all from Nubeena, were on board a six-metre boat with two others when it was hit by two freak waves off Tasman Island.

All five were wearing life jackets.

The secretary of the Tuna Club of Tasmania, Shane Banks, says their EPIRB and flares were lost when the boat upturned.

He says additional safety requirements could be introduced.

"You could carry some you know little flares and a little EPIRB inside a stormy seas jacket or something ... or could be something that they look at as a requirement that you have some sort of safety gear on your own person, that so if you end up in the water you can let off a flare or activate a beacon or something," he said.

25-04-2006, 12:10 PM
Thanks Bugman,

I dont know the Johnson family personally, but it still leaves a very sickening feeling in your stomach.
Especially when the exact same thing happened to us in exactly the same place in exactly the same tournament... even though it was 12 years ago, it affects you that much, that it still seems like yesterday.

In the cold water down there, an hour in the water is plenty of time to send you off to fishy heaven.

The one thing that I can say is the people who lost their lives would have actually been on a natural high when they passed... they probably wouldnt even have known what had happened.

With Hypothermia you get cold, you shiver, you get even colder, but then you go beyond it all, you stop shivering and it is a feeling very much like being totally drunk and not caring...

The people I feel most for are the two survivors. This event will be with them, vivdly, forever.

As hard as it will be, may their families find comfort in the fact that they passed away doing something they loved with a passion.

As far as a kneejerk reaction to carrying extra safety gear, and in particular flares .... I dont think it is the best answer...

Boats built to survey requirements with positive flotation, self draining decks and most probably twin motors should be highly recommended.

Also, the dress code for fishing offshore waters in southern states could also be explored.
It is the cold that kills. If you can prevent the cold, you can extend the survival time dramatically.

It was our accident that gave me my love of SharkCats. (being 10 minutes or less away from losing your life can certainly make you contemplate things)

Twin hull stability, self draining decks, twin motors with separate fuel systems, excellent rough water handling ability, sealed individual chambers to prevent the hull flooding.
I honestly believe that if we had been in an 18ft Sharkcat instead of a 17ft monohull, we would have came home shaken after the ordeal, but at least we would have came home.

Just my very personal thoughts.

My sincere thoughts to the Johnson family, everyone in Nubeena, and everyone associated with the Tuna Club.


25-04-2006, 02:02 PM

I'm moving back to Tassie soon. My first purchase will be a stormy seas WITH a mini personal epirb. At least I'll have a chance if anything goes wrong.

I'm from the West Coast and I don't have to go back far through the family or friends connection to find many lives lost at sea - and that's just off Strahan.


25-04-2006, 08:20 PM
G'day Brett,

Mate, that is sad, but so true about the west coast ... some of the most productive waters in the world, but some of the most unpredictable as well.

The stormy seas jackets certainly are a brilliant invention, and a most worthwhile investment for down there (or anywhere for that matter)

It just goes that no matter how experienced you are at boating, you can never take anything for granted... as shown by the Johnsons being caught out, and your friends / family and many many other experienced boaties....

When you get back to Tassie, feel free to send up some crays and Abs ;D



26-04-2006, 10:25 PM

I have not been involved in any Game Comps or profesional fishing events, would the organisers have had regular contact (every hour or so) with the registered vessels?

If not mabey a set of standards for comps needs to be looked at, involving regular contact with those with radio's, they may have a duty of care to ensure the safety of entrants (to the best of their ability) just my thoughts anyway.


Moving back to Tas?

Cheers Andy.

27-04-2006, 08:04 AM
G'day Andy,

Yes, they have hourly check ins, or "skeds"

All boats are registerd in the comp and must check in.

They nominte a boat positioned midway down the coast (Hippolyte Rock) to be a relay vessel for radio messages.

If a boat doesnt check in when called by the tuna base, they ask other boats in the last known area of that boat if they have sighted them.

All boats are briefed on weather and safety before the comp.

They usually have the big police boat on standby in Pirates Bay.

The rules state that the comp can be postponed or cancelled at the clubs discretion due to bad weather ... usually when wind is in excess of 30kts.

I can say from experience in fishing the Bluefin comp down there on many occasions, that the Tuna Club is very professional, very experienced in running comps, and they do everything humanly possible to ensure the safety of the vessels in the fleet.

The boaties in question were very experienced, and were locals, so they knew the weather and seas in that area first hand.

In my opinion, they were either just plain unlucky, or they were pushing their own boundaries on they day ... I dont know as I wasnt there to see the sea conditions.

Without even knowing the exact details of the day, I do not believe that the Tuna Club could have the finger pointed at them in any way whatsoever.
The members of the Tuna Club saved mine, and my brothers life.
Once they knew we were in trouble via radio (had taken wave over back... well actually fell out the back of a 7 metre wave and landed vertically, motor first) they dispatched the Police boat immediately, and coordinated a search for us, once we had lost radio contact. They were excellent.

Keep in mind the area they were fishing off tasman island ... it has ruggeb cliffs 100+ metres high, the sea is unbroken all the way from the antarctic and I have personally seen waves down there 15 - 18m tall, rolling through the cutting between the island and the mainland.

Move back to Tassie? me?

nah, I have got too used to the warm weather in southern queensland now :)



27-04-2006, 02:22 PM
Thanks Pete.

I was unsure how the events were run, it sounds like they are totaly professional and well organized.

No finger pointing here, just unsure of protocol for events.

Bugman had in his post "I'm moving back to Tassie soon", I'm having enough trouble getting a few cray without Brett moving down. ;D

Thanks again for the Info.

Cheers Andy.