Pelican Point Disaster – Break O’Day Capsizes

Electronics ruined

Electronics ruined

 The ABC News did a really good job covering the incident, go to:

Click on the video in the article to see the telecast.

This post is to assure mariners the three St Helens Marine Rescue volunteers who were capsized are OK despite their extremely close encounter with a maritime disaster aboard the rescue vessel Break O’Day. We still deal with the trauma, however are determined to continue our volunteering for St Helens Marine Rescue.

Last Sunday evening (4th January, 2015) will remain in our minds for our eternity. At 2130 hours a call from a Sydney/Hobart yacht, Kraken, by mobile phone requested assistance at Pelican Point. Three volunteer Marine Rescue members immediately responded and were beside the yacht within the hour. This 36 foot yacht was well and truly aground at the infamous Pelican Point sand bar facing out to sea. Why or how they were there remains a puzzle.  Attempting a night crossing the crew of Kraken had negotiated the barway (see below), however ran aground at Pelican Point.This is despite the constant reminders to yacht owners of the dangers of bar crossing.

The image below illustrates the location of Pelican Point and proximity to the St Helens Bar.

The St Helens barway and Pelican Point

The St Helens barway and Pelican Point

Further, again despite the constant warnings yachtsmen continue to gamble with this treacherous passage without the assistance of organisations such as St Helens Marine Rescue. The image below illustrates the profound issue with shallow water at Pelican Point on a high tide.

The depth profile of Pelican Point 31/12/2014

The depth profile of Pelican Point 31/12/2014

Kraken aground at Pelican Point

Kraken aground at Pelican Point the following day

It was decided to attempt to tow the yacht as was previously undertaken. After turning the yacht around the crew of Break O’Day commenced the tow. At around fifteen minutes of towing and slow progress the Break O’Day took a sudden surge to port and within a matter of seconds capsized. One crew member was thrown overboard the two remaining crew were trapped in the submerged cabin. Fortunately both  were able to extricate themselves, after grouping together on the upturned hull, we swam and pulled ourselves to the stranded yacht along the tow line. The Police vessel Polsar took the rescued members back to St Helens arriving at around 1:00 am the following day.

Members of St Helens Marine Rescue remain totally committed to the safety and well being of mariners along a 100 km stretch of coast line called North Eastern Tasmania. The incident is a salutary reminder that safety is paramount and despite the very best planning and preparation incidents like this still and will occur.


On behalf of the crew so profoundly affected by this incident I thank our families and friends who have supported us throughout this dire situation. Sadly there has been no acknowledgement of the incident or contact from any government department or agency. It makes one wonder of their appreciation of the value of emergency volunteering and the dangers they face.

We continue to provide VHF radio coverage and limited boat assistance from private vessels. Please do not hesitate to call us to log on before you journey on the water, log off this ensures your safe return.

Radio: VHF Channel 16, 27 MHz. Phone 0408 817 359 or 6376 2443

Our pride and joy has been written off, below pictures of Break O’Day.

Break O'Day towards the stern

Break O’Day towards the stern


Upturned Break O'Day the day after

Upturned Break O’Day the day after the capsize










Forward cabin

Forward cabin


Cabin and rear deck

Cabin and rear deck









Break O'Day responding to a call in earlier times

Break O’Day responding to a call in earlier times




Break O'Day returns to the ramp at St Helens

Break O’Day returns to the ramp at St Helens











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