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Beachgoers urged to take care in powerful swell

The lifesaving community has urged North Coast beachgoers to be cautious around the water this week as powerful swells prompted agencies to issue warnings about the hazardous surf conditions.

A powerful swell, peaking at more than 3.5 metres is expected to continue to build throughout Monday with the Far North Coast set to bear the brunt of the conditions, particularly on the incoming tide.

Similar conditions have been forecast for Tuesday with the entire coastline from Eden through to the NSW-Queensland border likely to experience the challenging swell.

Southern facing and open beaches are likely to be most heavily impacted.

NSW Lifesaving manager Matt du Plessis is urging the public to be aware of the conditions and to only swim at a patrolled location.

‘Unfortunately we have seen a number of tragic incidents at our beaches during the festive season and with the warmer weather the beach is still just as inviting ever.

‘Please take note of the safety warnings and if you have any doubt whatsoever about your ability to handle the water it’s better not to go in,’ said Mr du Plessis.

Lifesavers are using this opportunity to reiterate key safety messages.

‘The red and yellow flags are there for a reason and we urge you to make that effort to swim there. We’ve had several instances of people being pulled from rips over summer so please take those few extra seconds to evaluate the conditions and to talk to the lifesaver or lifeguard on duty,’ Mr du Plessis said.

Additionally rock fishers in particular should be aware of a 13-second period swell so they need to be extra vigilant when getting on and off exposed platforms.

It is believed that these conditions will last until at least Thursday before gradually easing as the weekend approaches, though that can quickly change as forecast models are refined.

General Safety Tips during Hazardous Surf Conditions: 

  • Avoid rock fishing and water activities on exposed beaches/rock-shelves
  • Only swim at patrolled beaches, between the red & 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 you witness an in-water emergency dial Triple Zero – police

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