Boating mishap – auto pilot to blame

On Tuesday, December 29, we launched off the beach at Orere Point to spend the day fishing. Myself, my son and his girlfriend anchored in the Firth of Thames Channel in 28mtrs of water between Poanui Island and Coromandel, on spot X in our 5.2mtr Bluefin. For 30mins we fished, and were just starting to get some good bites when we observed a large white launch coming out from Coromandel. We commented that they should travel well clear of us as there were no other boats in vicinity.
To our horror, they came straight at our stern at some knots. We were about to abandon our boat (one person had), when the boat ploughed over our port stern, submerging us and breaking gear.
We all thought the worst and we were very shaken.
We had to report incident and call for assistance. We managed to retrieve the person in water and get back to shore. This was a very serious incident and could haveended three lives. The use of auto pilot in coastal waters must NOT be ALLOWED to continue.
We were LUCKY.

K Goodwin

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