Notice to Mariners No. 498 of 2023 Bar Crossing Warning

Vessel operators intending to risk bar crossings

Andersons Inlet Ocean Entrance

Shallow Inlet Ocean Entrance

Port Albert Ocean Entrance

Kate Kearney Ocean Entrance

Shoal Inlet Ocean Entrance

McLoughlins Beach Ocean Entrance

Mallacoota Inlet Ocean Entrance


DATE:  5th December 2023


Mariners are advised that the Entrances to the following Ports and Waterways are normally influenced by the flow of the ebb and flood tides and have ocean access with Dangerous Sand Bars offshore;

Anderson Inlet – Shallow Inlet – Port Albert – Kate Kearney – Shoal Inlet – McLoughlins Beach Inlet – Mallacoota Inlet.

Common to all these ports and waterways is that there have been little or no regular bathymetric surveys of their respective entrances, their sand bars, or their offshore approaches.

These unmarked Ocean Entrance Bars are dynamic in nature and approach transit depths can change rapidly.

There are no aids to navigation established at their entrances to guide the mariner whilst navigating the best available transit or approach to cross their bars.


 Mariners are reminded that an ocean access entrance is dynamic and continuously changes in position and depth and can do so over a very short period.

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

  • Inexperienced vessel operators;
  • Experienced persons operating unfamiliar vessels;
  • Large swells created by recent weather events that close out the bar entrance with breaking surf;
  • The run of the ebb tide 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;
  • The presence of other vessel operators.

Passage through an 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.

 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 prior to departure and arrival through unmarked Bar entrances.  WEAR A LIFEJACKET AT ALL TIMES

Vessel operators are advised to exercise extreme caution before and during any decision to attempt a bar crossing considering the advice previously described.




Charts affected: Aus 181 & 805

ENC Cell Au 439146 & 438149



Victorian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook,

Gippsland Ports Waterways Online Web map available at


Capt.  Bevis Hayward

Harbour Master

Gippsland Ports

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