Dangerous Surf Conditions Result in Major Rescue

The Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting Dangerous Surf Conditions along the southern NSW coastline this afternoon, continuing through Tuesday, with an easterly swell of 2.5 metres and a 12 second period.

Surf Life Saving NSW is urging the public to be aware of then heightened risk and make the appropriate safety decisions to ensure their safety and that of their friends and family, particular during this school holiday period.

“These types of conditions can be deceptively dangerous” says Lifesaving Manager Dean Storey.

“This type of swell means that there can be periods of 5-10 minutes of small surf before a large set rolls though – this can easily catch out rock-fishers or people walking around rocks, learner-surfers, people swimming in unpatrolled areas and boats crossing bars”.

SLSNSW recommends that rock-fishermen avoid fishing on the open coastline, along the south coast for the next few days, and that people only swim at patrolled locations, between the red and yellow flags.

The warning for the south coast relates to the same swell-making low pressure system that has been creating high-surf in the North of the state, and which contributed to a major rescue on the coast of Ballina early this morning.

The Surf Emergency Response System was activated during the very early hours, following reports of two upturned vessels which had capsized in the dangerous swell on the Ballina bar. Surf Life Saving services including the Ballina Jet Rescue Boat responded in support of Marine Rescue, and rescued five people from the water.

The conditions at the time were very dangerous with a strong outgoing tide. Out of five people saved, two were injured, and required medical treatment. All patients were taken to Shelly Beach where paramedics assessed them on scene before transferring some to hospital.

Far North Coast, Emergency Services Officer, Jimmy Keough said, “It was a gallant effort by the jet boat crew to perform the rescue in such dangerous conditions and at night. It could have been a very tragic outcome if it wasn’t for their skill and selflessness”.

Public Safety Messages - During Dangerous Surf Warning

  • Swim only at patrolled beaches between the red/yellow flags (No flags, No swim)
  • Avoid rock-fishing on the open coastline
  • Inexperienced surfers should avoid surfing
  • Boaties should check their local forecast, seek advice from NSW Maritime and always wear a lifejacket
  • Visit Beachsafe for information on patrolled beaches/times
  • If witnessing an in-water emergency dial 000 – Police

Mon 15 Apr 2013