Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) has issued an alert following warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and State Emergency Services (SES) about damaging winds, surf and high tides for those in the Sydney, South Coast, Illawarra, Hunter and mid-North Coast areas of NSW from this afternoon.
RMS A/General Manager Maritime Operations Trevor Williams said skippers and owners of small craft especially should be on high alert and to postpone any non-essential boating.
'The BoM has issued a severe weather warning. Very heavy surf is being forecast to move northwards through NSW, especially on south-facing beaches,' Mr Williams said. 'The SES is also warning that damaging winds combined with spring tides are likely to produce near-record water levels along the NSW coast. Low-lying areas as well as coastal creeks and rivers may experience flooding with the high tide from 9pm tonight.'
Mr Williams said strong and gale force winds often led boats to break free from their moorings.
'It is a condition of all mooring licences that moorings and mooring tackle is serviced annually for this exact reason.
If a boat breaks free from its mooring, the owner can be liable to any damage that it causes to other craft,' he said.
However, boat owners will need to use their own judgment as it is most often too late for these checks to be made once the weather turns bad.
Mr Williams said rock fishing and crossing coastal bars especially should be delayed until the weather eased.
Every skipper is responsible for the safety of their vessel and all on board, and RMS advises skippers to:
· Check the official weather forecast before and during boating
· Ensure the boat and its equipment is suitable for the conditions
· Log on/off with a Marine Rescue NSW marine radio base for every trip offshore
· Wear a lifejacket.
Live webcam of bar crossings at www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/webcams/web-cam.html
Official forecast at www.bom.gov.au/nsw