by Penny Robins
Coastal bar crossing safety will be the focus of a North Coast boating campaign this weekend, NSW Maritime Chief Executive Steve Dunn said.
Evans Head - Bar Crossing
Mr Dunn said five NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers would be on patrol in North Coast waters of the Macleay Valley, Crescent Head, Hat Head, and Nambucca.
'The mid north and north coast of NSW has a number of bar crossings and all demand respect,' Mr Dunn said.
'Coastal bars are dymanic environments with a constantly changing mix of wind, waves, tides and sandbanks; these are places that must be approached with care in well prepared craft.
'Local knowledge is very important for any skipper who is considering crossing a coastal bar.
'Study the conditions and weather before you even attempt the bar crossing and ensure the boat is up to the task.'
Mr Dunn said the NSW Maritime network of bar crossing web cameras were just one tool that was available to skippers to check conditions.
'Responsible skippers will use a variety of avenues to prepare and plan for a bar crossing, and of course it is critical to make sure all the appropriate safety gear is on board,' he said.
'Perhaps most important of all is to wearing a lifejacket when crossing a coastal bar as this is a compulsory requirement.'
New lifejackets rules introduced in November 2010 include a requirement for everyone onboard to wear a lifejacket at all times offshore in boats of less than 4.8m.
Trouble ahead at the Evan Head bar but correctly with lifejackets on. - Evans Head - Bar Crossing
A bit too much power on but keen to get clear. - Evans Head - Bar Crossing