Summer is the peak season for marine activity on the coast, but concerns are afloat about the dangers to boaters of an increasingly shallow Batemans Bay bar.
Canberra boater Damian Hennessy was left high and dry after struggling to cross the bar last month.
Mr Hennessy said he had to call in help from Marine Rescue and wait 24 hours out on Snapper Island until the tide was high enough for his vessel to enter the Bay.
The incident comes amidst claims from the Batemans Bay Marina that the bar has closed in to about 70cm, despite being told the channel would be kept at a minimum of 1.3-1.5m after the last dredging works.
Mr Hennessy believed the bar to be at 1.6m at Lowest Astronomical Tide (LAT), but was surprised to discover it was much less when he attempted to cross it on December 15.
It needs to be dredged out at least to a stage where you can get across at most high tides.Damian Hennessy
“Marine Rescue told me it was only 600mm across the bar at LAT, so that threw me a little as I was thinking there was a little bit more water,” he said.
“The next high tide was only a very small one, so we still wouldn’t have got across the water.
“Marines Rescue towed me to Snapper Island and I had to sit there until the following day when the tide was high enough to get in again.”
Mr Hennessy said the incident resulted in damage to his vessel, including a leaking shaft seal.
He supported a call from the marina to improve conditions on the bar through further dredging work.
“If you want people to access the facilities and the river, it needs to be dredged out at least to a stage where you can get across at most high tides,” he said.
“Obviously at some low tides you understand you might have to wait out for a while, but every high tide, you should be able to get across.”
He said the bar troubles had made him think twice before returning to the Bay with his boat in the future.
“My original plan, when I thought there was 1.6-1.8m was to base the boat at the marina and sail in the local sailing club, but I can’t do that now,” he said.
“I’m going up to Jervis Bay but I can’t come back until the 18th or 19th of January. It’s almost two weeks because of how the the tides are so I can’t get across the bar.”
Dredging work was last completed in late 2016 as part of a $500,000 project through the NSW Government’s Dredging Strategy.