Kevin Boyton lucky to make 2010
IT took a keen sense of hearing to find Kevin Boyton two miles out to sea off the Clarence Coast on the last day of the year.
Volunteer Coast Guard rescuers, who finally plucked the jet-skier from the water, had to keep turning off the engine to listen for his cries for help.
“We couldn’t see him anywhere but heard a faint cry so I got on top of the roof of the boat to get a better view,” said Andrew Soesan, of the Coast Guard.
An exhausted Mr Boyton was lost for words as he held his son close at the Yamba Marina a short time after a jet-ski mishap that nearly claimed his life.
The 48-year-old Gold Coast man had stopped on the Iluka-Yamba bar in the scorching sun to reapply sunscreen at 2pm.
The south-east swell was not big, around 1.3 metres, but enough to put Mr Boyton into the Clarence River for more than 20 minutes.
When a wave hit him, his hands were too slippery from the sunscreen to take grip and he was knocked into the river on the outgoing tide and began a swift journey out to sea.
His safety strap had slipped off his wrist and he was separated from his ski. Luckily, he was wearing a life vest.
Mr Soesan said that someone had put a call into police and a rescue was mounted.
The Coast Guard was joined by lifesavers in two IRBs launched from the Yamba Surf Life Saving Club, with another ready to head out if necessary.
When Mr Soesan finally got to Mr Boyton, he was exhausted.
“He was at the end of his tether, he’s a very lucky man,” Mr Soesan said.