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Don’t get hooked by coastal bars

Boaties planning to enjoy the fine weather out on the open water this weekend are reminded to take care around coastal bars.

Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Patrick Quirk said there were always risks in crossing coastal bars and skippers must take care and precautions.

“Some people are drawn into crossing a bar in smooth conditions only to find conditions have changed before they return home,” Mr Quirk said.

“Always consider tides and weather forecasts before heading out.

“The rule is simple—if the weather or sea conditions aren’t favourable don't risk it.

“Lives have been lost on Queensland's coastal bars and these tragedies can be avoided with smart skippering.”

Knowing the tides, local conditions and having the right boat are all important factors boat owners should consider before crossing a bar, even in fine weather.

Maritime Safety Queensland has the following tips for boaties venturing to sea from coastal rivers:

  • Try to cross a coastal bar on a making tide as conditions are usually rougher at an ebb tide.
  • Observe wave patterns and map a potential route through the breakers.
  • Talk to experienced local boaters and volunteer marine rescue organisations to improve your knowledge of local conditions.
  • Ensure your boat is capable of withstanding impacts from waves
  • Brief passengers and crew about safety equipment before beginning a crossing.
  • Ensure all hatches, covers and loose items are secured.

Mr Quirk said it was compulsory for all occupants of boats less than 4.8m to wear a life jacket when crossing designated coastal bars.

“Responsible skippers should ensure everyone is wearing a life jacket whenever there’s a heightened risk,” he said.

“Enjoy your boating, but always be aware of the increased risk you place yourself and your passengers in when crossing a bar.

"Remember—you're the skipper, you're responsible."

Further information

Last updated
11 April 2019