Boaties Warned of dangerous lake spots


15 January 2012


MARINE rescue officials have warned boat users of danger areas on Lake Macquarie. Swansea Channel and Pulbah Island are noted as hazardous areas that can lure inexperienced boaties into danger. ‘‘The weather can turn and change conditions in the lake very quickly,’’ Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie commander Jim Wright said. ‘‘Swansea Channel has swift-moving currents that swirl around. ‘‘There are certain areas in the lake, like from Pulbah Island to Wangi, where even on a smooth day it can get rough because of the currents.’’

Four people were rescued on Wednesday between Pulbah Island and Wangi after their runabout capsized. The previous day a man and two children were rescued after their runabout hit Swansea Bridge and capsized. Jason Nunn, who owns Fishermans Warehouse at Marks Point, said they were lucky to have avoided serious injury. ‘‘They knew the boat wouldn’t sink and they’ve clung to the boat, which was probably the most sensible thing,’’ he said. ‘‘The current gets you and before you know it you’re up against the pylons.’’

Two weeks ago two teens were in a ‘‘rubber ducky’’ in the channel when their engine failed, Mr Wright said. The current swept them under the bridge and past Swansea Heads. One teen fell overboard. He warned boaties to maintain boat engines. ‘‘Boats sit in the shed all winter and the fuel can lose its capacity to fire properly.’’

People should be aware of tides because ‘‘when it comes in and out of the lake, it does so in a hurry’’, he added. ‘‘If anchors don’t hold, boats can be swept away,’’ he said. Weather forecasts should be checked before departure. ‘‘Southerlies are the big ones because they bring quick changes, but any weather change where wind comes up in a hurry can create problems.’’

All Eyes: Marine Rescue Lake Macquarie commander Jim Wright urges boaties to be careful this summer. – Picture by Jonathan Carroll