The notorious Wide Bay Bar.
The notorious Wide Bay Bar. Contributed

Attention boaties who cross the Wide Bay Bar

IF YOU'RE thinking about crossing the Wide Bay Bar this weekend, you'd better double check your reference points.

With the season for boats just around the corner, Maritime Safety Queensland has changed the line of the Hook Point directional light to ensure boaties are over the best water depth when travelling across the Wide Bay Bar.

The Tin Can Bay Coast Guard said the track has changed due to shifting sandbanks and shoaling that has occurred in recent years.

"The situation deteriorated to the point where several vessels suffered damage after hitting sandbanks that had encroached on to the centre line bearing of the Hook Point light,” the Coast Guard said.

"MSQ were advised of our concerns and also those reported by mariners crossing the bar about the safety of the track - in response, a hydrographic survey conducted on March 16 confirmed our suspicions that the bar was 'on the move'.

"Coastal bars are dynamic in nature, and the Wide Bay Bar has a reputation for being one of the most dangerous on the Queensland coast because of the length of the crossing (over 3nm), its distance offshore, the length of time it takes for our rescue crews to reach and then the bar (up to 1 hour depending on conditions) and the effects weather conditions have on the seas thereabouts.”

This change has seen the seaward Reference Point 1 move due north by approximately 0.5 nautical mile onto a new centre line bearing to the Hook Point white light of 269.6 degrees True.

Due to the new track now crossing a sandbank, the Tin Can Bay Coastguard recommend that vessels with drafts exceeding 1m should cross the Wide Bay Bar in the last two hours of the incoming tide and preferably at high tide.

For those navigating their voyage with the old reference and waypoints to cross the Bar but their vessel and their lives at risk from hitting sandbanks that are now in shallow water with depths of less than 3m.

"The ramifications of hitting one of these sandbanks could be catastrophic and result in damaged vessels and at worst, injury and loss of life,” The Coast Guard said.

For the latest details guidance call the Tin Can Bay Coastguard on 5486 4290 or www.coastguard.com.au

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