The disappearance of a kayaker fishing off Altona has prompted safety warnings.
Japanese national Junichi Yoshimura, 41, was captured on CCTV launching his kayak from Altona boat ramp about 5am on Thursday.
His colleagues raised the alarm when the baker failed to arrive for work in Torquay on Friday. His friends located his car, a white 2002 Subaru Forester, at the boat ramp. But his yellow Hobie kayak was missing.
On Monday morning, Mr Yoshimura’s empty kayak was found 16 kilometres west of Edithvale in Port Phillip Bay.
Zeally Bay Sourdough owner Joel Farnan said Mr Yoshimura had arrived in Australia in November.
“He’s really into fishing – it’s one of his passions,” he said. “To a Japanese person it’s an amazing thing to just go out on the water and pull in some really beautiful fish and be out there amongst it.
“He got his car and then, shortly afterwards, bought a kayak and often he’d go on these expeditions and come back with fish and share them around the bakery.”
He said the Japanese consulate had been notified. Mr Yoshimura’s family was due to arrive in Australia on Tuesday.
Acting Sergeant David McHenry urged anyone going out on the water to check the weather, tell people their schedule, have safety equipment and carry a personal locating beacon.
Altona’s Eoin Corroon, whose Sea Sherpa business focuses on offshore safety, said the kayak fishing community was devastated about Mr Yoshimura’s disappearance.
“There have been many times I’ve been out on the bay at Altona and have seen people kayaking without life jackets or without wearing life jackets properly, which is a legal requirement in Victoria,” he said. “Also, I’ve seen people using kayaks that are not suitable for the weather conditions in the bay.”