A MAN has been rescued from the ocean after his yacht was swamped by a wave south of Byron Bay.
The 25ft vessel was smashed by a large wave as it made its way north to Brisbane from Forster on Thursday afternoon.
The yacht lost its mast and started taking on water as it crossed the Ballina Bar near the north breakwall of the Richmond River around 3.30pm.
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Police activated the Surf Emergency Response System, triggering a massive search and rescue operation involving multiple agencies.
The man was eventually brought to shore by the Ballina Jet Rescue Boat just after 4pm.
He was treated by paramedics at the scene before being transported to hospital.
Surf Life Saving NSW said the man ingested some water and was experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath.
State Duty Officer Jimmy Keough said the man was lucky to have been rescued safely.
“It was a coordinated, joint agency effort with everyone responding quickly which made this rescue a success,” said Jimmy Keough.
“He is extremely lucky as the ocean conditions are expected to continue to deteriorate over the coming days.”
The vessel was unable to be towed across the bar due to the rough conditions and sank while being brought back to Lighthouse Beach.