Holidaymakers heading out on South Coast waterways during the school break are being urged to be extra vigilant in the wake of the recent boating tragedy in Moruya.
Roads and Maritime Services Maritime Principal Manager South Mike Hammond said the message to boaters was a simple one.
“Despite the fact we are now technically outside the official boating season, it is crucial all safety precautions are taken during and particularly before any boating trip,” Mr Hammond said.
“If you’re heading to the South Coast, check your boat, check your lifejackets, and make sure you are across the local conditions. Don’t assume it will be the same as last time you were there.
“The warm weather has extended the boating season and the South Coast is often the boating playground for not only those from the area, but also those from inland NSW.”
The boating safety message comes after the recent tragedy on the Moruya River bar.
On Saturday, March 24, a vessel was preparing to cross the bar, around one kilometre from the shore, when it capsized about 7am.
Five of the passengers on board the 6.3-metre vessel were rescued. However, a 13-year-old girl was later located in the up-turned vessel and did not survive the incident.
Mr Hammond said crossing a coastal bar required skills to read the changing wind and wave environment and knowledge of the local environment and tides.
“Coastal bars are dynamic environments, which is one of the reasons why it is all people in any size recreational vessel must wear an appropriate lifejacket when crossing a coastal bar,” Mr Hammond said.
“When considering crossing a bar, the best catch phrase for skippers - who are ultimately responsible for the safety of all on board - is ‘If in doubt, don't go out’.”
Roads and Maritime provides live web cam vision of many of many coastal bars in NSW to allow boat operators to log on and remotely check the conditions before planning a trip.
The full list of NSW web cameras to help boaters plan their trips can be viewed here.
For more information on bar crossing safety and to access live vision of NSW coastal bar crossings click here.