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With hazardous weather conditions forecast to impact the northern NSW coastline from tomorrow and into Monday, surf lifesavers are urging the public to exercise caution when visiting the coast. 

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a Hazardous Surf Warning for the Byron and Coffs coast from tomorrow, Sunday 13 December.

With waves exceeding five metres a possibility in the surf zone north of Port Macquarie from late Sunday evening, conditions will be hazardous for coastal activities such as rock fishing, boating, surfing and swimming. 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.

Significant high tides during Monday may lead to localised coastal inundation. The combination of these tides and damaging surf may lead to significant beach erosion north of Ballina.

Joel Wiseman, Surf Life Saving NSW Director of Lifesaving, said that conditions along the northern NSW coastline may become dangerous from tomorrow. He urged the public to exercise extreme caution if they are visiting the coastline.

“Surf conditions along the Byron and Coffs coast may be extreme tomorrow and these hazardous conditions may continue into Monday. We strongly recommend members of the public to exercise caution when boating and not to engage in risky coastal activities such as rock fishing over the next two days. It could be very challenging for our surf lifesavers to rescue people who get into trouble in these conditions over the next two days,” said Joel Wiseman.

As a gazetted emergency service organisation, Surf Life Saving NSW has call-out teams, Duty Officers and surf rescue assets on standby to respond to coastal emergencies.

The newly opened SLSNSW State Operations Centre in Sydney is operational between 7am and 7pm throughout the week – with support services extended as required. Surf Rescue emergency call-out teams will remain on high alert over the next two days.

Visit or download the Beachsafe App, to find patrolled locations and up-to-date beach conditions.

Since 1 July 2020, 16 people have drowned on the NSW coastline. During the 2019/20 season, 49 people drowned on the NSW coastline.


  • Avoid rock fishing and water activities on exposed beaches/rock-shelves

  • Only swim at patrolled beaches, between the red and yellow flags. See the Beachsafe Website for patrolled locations/times

  • Check the official Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecast before undertaking rock fishing and water activities

  • Boaties should seek advice from Marine Rescue NSW and always wear a lifejacket

  • If witnessing an in-water emergency dial Triple Zero (000) – Police.

Saturday 12 December 2020