Wide Bay Bar is moving so call Coast Guard for advice

FORGET everything you thought you knew about getting over the notorious Wide Bay Bar, Tin Can Bay Coast Guard has warned seafarers.

The bar, tricky at best, is now even trickier, as shifting sands render much of the available navigation information worse than useless.

The Coast Guard's lead training officer Ian Sutton urged operators of all types of watercraft to contact the Coast Guard for advice before attempting to cross.

The bar's waypoints, reference points used as route markers through difficult spots, have all changed.

"If you follow the waypoints people have been using in recent years, you will probably run aground," Mr Sutton said.

Maritime Safety Queensland has recognised the danger and taken action, but new waypoint directions have yet to be established.

"We have to provide some sort of safety service, so if people contact us we can give them the waypoints we use, but they have to do so at their own risk.

"Waypoint Two, for example, is the one half way across the bar, at Inskip, the one where you turn to go directly east. We've been telling people to stand off to the north a fair bit, about 100m, after Maritime Safety Queensland came down with the Harbour Master from Bundaberg and said the co-ordinates are wrong.

"They say they will have to develop new waypoints and realign the lights on Fraser Island and Inskip Point to give accurate deep water guidance.

"It's just a natural shifting of the sand," he said.

"We urge people to ring us or radio when they're heading out or when they are leaving Mooloolaba or Urangan or Double Island Point.

"We will give them our figures to help them get over safely. We have to offer this service - some craft come from overseas - but we can't take responsibility for their seamanship.

"People cross the bar all the time. I've had eight this morning already," he said at 9am on Tuesday.

"If people are really not confident, we offer an escort service for cost - about $150."

Gympie Times

Topics:  boating coast guard mooloolaba outdoor-living tin can bay urangan

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