A Deviot man drowned after he and his wife attempted to secure their yacht which had come loose from its moorings in extreme weather conditions in the kanamaluka/Tamar on Wednesday, Tasmania Police have confirmed.
The couple - both experienced sailors - had used an inflatable dinghy to go in pursuit of the 30-foot Mottle 33 yacht about 2.40pm after spotting it adrift while in their house, on the shore at Deviot.
They travelled about 200 metres in the dinghy before the man's wife was able to climb onto the yacht, but the dinghy flipped as they attempted to secure it to the yacht, throwing the man into the water.
Inspector Ruth Orr said the woman made numerous phone calls, including to police, for assistance.
"She could see her husband in the water at that time with the dinghy," she said.
"Police and some other civilian witnesses got there quite quickly. Police saw the man at that time in the water with the dinghy.
"That was some distance further north from where the yacht was."
Strong southeasterly winds and a receding tide combined for unusually choppy conditions at the time.
The man was wearing a personal flotation device, but was unresponsive when police retrieved him from the water and commenced CPR. The dinghy washed up on the shore nearby.
Police estimate the man was in the water for about 10 minutes, and Deviot residents - who The Examiner spoke to on Thursday - said the water was likely to be extremely cold, and the rough waters were the worst they had seen in several years.
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One resident praised the actions of attending police, who spent considerable time attempting to revive the man. Southeasterly winds are known to cause particularly challenging conditions in that section of the river.
Police were continuing their interviews with witnesses on Thursday. The yacht was towed to Beauty Point with damage to its rear.
The man had "extensive experience" in sailing and had skippered boats, Inspector Orr said.
She said the conditions were dangerous for all river users, however.
"I would say to people that regardless of your experience, your knowledge, perhaps your capability and capacity in operating boats and other water craft that you do need to be mindful and take heed of weather warnings," Inspector Orr said.
"They've obviously made the decision to go out and try to secure the boat themselves or certainly make an assessment of what the situation was. It's unfortunate and tragic that the man in this case has lost his life while doing that.
"I would ask people to... be mindful of weather warnings, and, despite what you think might be in your capability, to seek appropriate advice from other agencies or sources."
A file will be prepared for the coroner.
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