DATE: Tuesday 12 January 2016

DETAILS: A recent Marine Incident that occurred on the Marlo Bar (Snowy River) ocean entrance has highlighted the risks involved for vessel operators attempting to make passage across the Marlo ocean entrance bar.

Mariners are reminded that the ocean entrance to Marlo is dynamic and continuously changes in position and depth and can do so over a very short period of time. Generally the ocean entrance is very shallow and is exposed to offshore weather events.

Bar Crossings are regarded as extremely dangerous and can cause serious personal injury or death when unfavorable environmental conditions exist, including;

  • Poor weather conditions with strong winds making the bar entrance hard to distinguish.
  • Large swells created by recent weather events that close off the bar entrance with breaking surf.
  • The run of the ebb tide or flood water which lifts and shortens sea conditions on the bar increasing risk of swamping or capsize.
  • Poor visibility, which may include the position of the sun relative to the vessels position when attempting to cross the bar.
  • Changes in sea and swell conditions from the time of departure to the time of arrival and on a day to day basis. Sea conditions can change from long distance weather events centered in the Tasman Sea or Bass Strait.

Passage through the entrance and bar should only be attempted by experienced persons with sound local knowledge and only at times of fair weather, smooth sea conditions at higher water with no influence from the ebb tide. Operating vessels through the entrance and bar at times of heightened risk should be avoided at all times.

Bar crossing advice and safety equipment requirements can be found in the Victorian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook. Vessel operators should take extra care during vessel equipment checks and conduct a safety briefing to passengers before departing on a voyage to any destination.

There are no aids to navigation to guide vessel operators through the Marlo ocean entrance or across the bar and the best available water may be different from one day to the next.

Vessel operators are advised to take extra precaution before and during any decision to attempt a bar crossing taking into account the advice previously described.

“If in doubt, don’t go out”

Further information about the Port of Snowy River can be found on the Gippsland Ports website at www.gippslandports.vic.gov.au.

PUBLICATIONS AFFECTED: Gippsland Ports Boating Guide (electronic version)

FURTHER NOTICE: No further Notice shall be issued

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