Wooli Bar Photo Debrah Novak
Wooli Bar Photo Debrah Novak Debrah Novak

'Hazardous surf warnings are here for a reason'

"NO FISH is worth it,” that is advice from Wooli Marine Rescue unit commander Richard Taffs.

With a hazardous surf warning issued for Thursday, Mr Taffs said while they can't stop people from crossing the Wooli bar, they strongly advise against it.

"When we get a cyclone or a tropical low coming out of the Coral Sea, it generates swell out of the east,” he said.

"A swell out of the east comes out of the sea and straight onto our beaches.

"When we have one to the south of us, like an east coast low, they generate swell out of the south which goes straight past.

"However, with an easterly swell, it's not the size of the swell, it's the direction that makes our bars treacherous.”

Wooli Marine Rescue's Richard Taffs will be running in the Commonwealth Games baton run.
Wooli Marine Rescue's Richard Taffs will be running in the Commonwealth Games baton run.

Mr Taffs said that when people attempt to cross the bar, a wave may break over them and swamp them, and then if a second wave hits, they could sink.

"It's not worth it and it then puts us at risk,” he said. "If something does happen then we need to attempt a rescue. It's not just the people involved but the rescue organisations or water police or helicopter.

"When there is a hazardous surf warning out, it's there for a reason.”

Mr Taffs said, while it was not possible to forecast exactly what the surf conditions will be like on the weekend, Thursday will be when it is at it's worst.

"Things will start to drop back from Friday, but by the weekend we will probably be into a new system,” he said.

"The message we have for people is you should always go and look at the bar before attempting a crossing.

"In terms of swimming, Wooli beach is not patrolled outside of school holidays and Minnie Water will be safer with surf life savers.”

The Bureau of Meteorology has cancelled the strong wind warning for the Coffs Coast, however there is still a hazardous surf warning for the Byron and Coffs Coast for Thursday.

NSW Police Force, Marine Area Command advise that:

  • People should consider staying out of the water and avoid walking near surf-exposed areas.
  • Rock fishers should avoid coastal rock platforms exposed to the ocean and seek a safe location that is sheltered from the surf.
  • Boaters planning to cross shallow water and ocean bars should consider changing or delaying their voyage.
  • Boaters already on the water should carry the appropriate safety equipment and wear a lifejacket.
  • Boaters should remember to log on with their local Marine Rescue radio base, via VHF Radio or the Marine Rescue APP, and consider their safety management plan.

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