In a boating emergency

Radio for help on

Channel 16 on VHF 
(distress and calling channel)

Channel 88 (27.880 MHz) 
on a 27 MHz radio

Call MRNSW on

9450 2468

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News & Media

  • June 06, 2016

Roads and Maritime Services is urging people on Hunter and Northern NSW waters to avoid all non-essential boating with the clean up under way after the weekend’s wild weather.


Roads and Maritime Principal Manager North Sonia McKay said all waterways along the coast were impacted by the weekend’s excessive wind and rain, with Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie and Port Stephens bearing the brunt of the wild weather.


“Roads and Maritime Services operational staff are busy removing debris from the water, reinstating navigation aids, buoys and signs and helping boat owners recover vessels,” Ms McKay said.


“Boaters should be aware that in some waterways, rivers will continue to rise in the lower reaches over the coming week.


“All non-essential boating should be postponed as there is a large amount of rubbish and debris, including trees and vegetation as well as building materials and other large items.


“Some debris is obvious and some is submerged or semi-submerged, which can be extremely hazardous for boaters.


“Many of the navigation aids which guide boaters away from hazards have washed away and although Boating Safety Officers are working hard to reinstate them, it could be several weeks before they are all back in the correct location which means dangerous areas could be left unmarked for some time.


“Work is also under way to salvage and/ or relocate several large boats which broke away from their moorings at various locations throughout the Hunter and North Coast waterways.


“At Coffs Harbour Marina, one vessel has been boomed to contain a small amount of diesel after it sank during the stormy conditions. Another vessel is at risk of sinking and several vessels have required relocation after damage to the marina.


“In Shoal Bay, Port Stephens, four vessels have been torn from their moorings with two being washed onto the beach.  One of the vessels is now destroyed beyond repair after repeatedly being smashed by waves.


“Also at Shoal Bay, a motor cruiser has sunk and is now washing up in pieces on the beach and in surrounding water.


“In the aftermath of major weather events such as these, it is timely to remind boat owners they have a responsibility to maintain moorings.


“Moorings must be serviced at least once a year with a proof of mooring service produced to Roads and Maritime Services boating safety officers on request.

“Those who hold mooring licences are responsible for damage caused by their boat or mooring to any other vessel or property. It is important for vessel owners to insure their vessel as the salvage and/ or clean up can cost thousands of dollars.


“Boat owners should check their moorings only if it is safe to do so,” Ms McKay said.


For more information on mooring maintenance and boating safety, go to


Members of the community who notice a navigation aid is damaged or washed out of position should call Roads and Maritime on 13 12 36 on weekdays between 8.30am and 5pm or on weekends from 8.30am to 4.30pm.


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