South Coast boaters to hit the water while swimmers urged to be safe this weekend

February 17, 2023 7:25 am in by

Marine Rescue NSW is anticipating an increase in boating activity over the coming days with improved and warmer weather conditions forecast along the South Coast.

After days of unfavourable boating conditions, Marine Rescue NSW Deputy Commissioner Operations and Capability, Alex Barrell said he expects boaters to take advantage of the improved conditions.

“With the easing of the hazardous surf conditions that we’ve seen over recent days and the warmer weather that’s expected we are looking at seeing larger numbers of boats on the waterways,” Barrell said.

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“It’s our reminder that boaters do check the weather conditions before they head out and that they make sure they’ve got all the required safety equipment onboard their vessel for their trip,” he said.

Winds are forecast to strengthen across the day from tomorrow into Saturday along the Illawarra, Batemans and Eden Coastlines.

“With this warmer weather, we’re also expecting to see the winds strengthen later in the afternoon which is a reminder for boaters that they make sure they’re constantly checking the weather conditions and that they’re operating within the limitations of their vessel,” Barrell said.

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting winds to reach up to 30 knots offshore on the Eden Coast tomorrow night.

View the Marine Rescue Boat Safety Checklist HERE.

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Meanwhile, having made nearly 3,000 rescues this summer already, NSW volunteer surf lifesavers and lifeguards are urging the public to understand their limitations as a “low intensity heatwave” approaches.

The Bureau of Meteorology indicates that a low intensity heatwave is in place for eastern NSW until Sunday.

NSW surf lifesavers and lifeguards are encouraging anyone who plans to beat the heatwave this weekend to swim between the red and yellow flags at a patrolled location such as:

  • Tathra Beach
  • Pambula Beach
  • Narooma Surf Beach
  • Moruya South Head Beach
  • Broulee South Beach
  • Malua Bay Beach

*All above beaches have patrols along certain parts of those beaches during weekends only – apart from Tathra Beach that has patrols during the week as well until the 4th of March 2023.

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SLSNSW Director of Lifesaving, Joel Wiseman, said that with hazardous surf conditions and big crowds expected in the coming days, the risks of swimming at unpatrolled locations had increased significantly.

“Too often we have seen tragic incidents where a person has drowned while trying to rescue someone else,” Wiseman said.

“You might be a good swimmer yourself, however trying to save someone else, often without any rescue equipment or training is extremely difficult and dangerous,” he said.

This summer, there have been five fatalities in NSW where bystanders have drowned while attempting to rescue someone caught in a rip.

“If you do see someone in trouble at an unpatrolled location, call for help, dial Triple-Zero and if you must attempt the rescue yourself, take a minute to try to locate some form of rescue device or flotation aid, like a bodyboard to take with you. It can buy you and the person you’re assisting precious minutes afloat until help arrives.”

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Surf lifesavers are also reminding people to check the BeachSafe website or download the BeachSafe app to find patrolled beach locations before leaving home.

-Always swim between the red and yellow patrol flags, for your nearest patrolled beach check the BeachSafe app or website
-Read the safety signs for information about the beach and ask a lifesaver or lifeguard for safety information
-Always swim with someone else so you can look out for each other, and always supervise children around the water
-Never swim under the influence of alcohol or drugs
-If you need help in the water, stay calm and attract attention by raising one arm
-In an emergency, dial Triple Zero
-For information about patrol times, weather, and beach locations visit the Beachsafe Website or Download the App.

Images: Marine Rescue NSW, James Fennessy – East Coast Radio