Boaters warned: Ballina Bar changes

15 July 2011

NSW Maritime is warning boaters to take extra care crossing the Ballina Bar at the mouth of the Richmond River as conditions on the bar have changed recently.

NSW Maritime North Coast Regional Manager James Green said a series of recent floods have caused sand movement and build up in various locations across the bar.

“There have been at least three roll overs on the bar during attempted crossings in the past three weeks,” Mr Green said. “Fortunately they were all wearing lifejackets and sustained only minor injuries with mild hypothermia. Their boats did not fare so well.”

“Recent flooding and large swells have caused sandbanks to reconfigure.”

"Any skipper thinking of crossing the bar should take extra care in checking the conditions and understanding the bar configuration as it is a dynamic environment."

Mr Green said the skipper of any boat is responsible for the safety of their craft and all those on board.

“The safest time to cross any coastal bar is on a rising tide,” Mr Green said.

It is the law that everyone must wear a type one lifejacket if crossing a coastal bar in NSW.

“When considering crossing a bar, skippers – who are responsible for the safety of everyone on board – should consider: if in doubt, don’t go out,” Mr Green said.

NSW Maritime provides footage from live web cameras at most bars on the NSW coast to assist skippers in preparing to cross a coastal bar, which can assist in this decision-making process.

Shoreline assessments of the conditions prior to deciding whether or not to cross a bar are also recommended, Mr Green said.

To view bar crossing cameras go to

Share this page: