Men on sinking boat saved

21:20, Aug 20 2014

Two men were rescued from a boat sinking in Tasman Bay yesterday morning.

A mayday call was sent from the 10-metre launch before 8am yesterday after the boat started taking on water, Nelson police spokeswoman Barbara Dunn said.

The Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter was sent just to locate the boat, which was found about 10 nautical miles northeast of Motueka, pilot Tim Douglas-Clifford said.

He said a fishing boat and another boat had by then reached the sinking vessel. The Port Nelson pilot boat Waimea and the Nelson Coastguard were also sent to help.

"We were stood down when another boat was there helping, but the vessel was still sinking," Douglas-Clifford said.

Dunn said another vessel in the area had picked up two adults and a dog, and all were safe. The vessel was then towed back to Nelson.


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Nelson Harbourmaster Dave Duncan was on board the Waimea which went to help the launch named Pal-O-Mine. He said the Coastguard delivered a salvage pump to help the men who were bailing out their launch, so it could be towed back safely.

He believed the problem might have occurred because of a leaking stern gland, the system that keeps the propeller shaft watertight through the hull.

"The guys are busy bailing out the boat. There's no better pump than a frightened man with a bucket," Duncan said.

The men were in good spirits and the dog was safe, but rigging the bilge pump helped because the water was "coming up all the time".

Coastguard duty officer Wayne Ballantyne said from the rescue centre on Wakefield Quay, where the rescue was being co-ordinated, that conditions were calm, but rain meant visibility was poor.

In the last year, the volunteer-run organisation had attended about 35 callouts, though mayday calls were not very frequent, Ballantyne said.

The Nelson Mail