WEEKEND WEB — Flood Alert for many NSW waterways

WEEKEND WEB - Flood Alert for many NSW waterways

Boaters are warned not to head out in hazardous conditions on waterways across NSW as a result of fast-flowing flood waters and continuing rainfall, NSW Maritime chief executive Steve Dunn said this week.

Dunn said northern catchments presented a danger to boaters due to dissipating flood waters loaded with debris and stripped of navigation markers to indicate hazards.

Boaters also needed to be aware of the dangers of heading out on the Murray River and South Coast waterways, where prolonged rainfall and flooding is impacting in some areas, he said.

“In the north of the State, flooding is worst in the Clarence River. However, following more heavy rain (on Wednesday), many of the navigation markers on the Macleay River have been washed downstream and out to sea with another five buoys washed down and now parked on the bar,” said Dunn.

“Boating activity should only be undertaken on flood-affected waterways in emergency situations.

“There is all manner of debris floating on these waterways. Items such as tree branches, fences, animals and metal sheeting may be visible, submerged or even semi-submerged, creating hazards for boaters,” he said.

Dunn said receding flood waters could also be expected to produce:
* Excessive ebb streams; and
* Altered flow direction due to bank damage, eddies and rips.

“People should keep off these flood-affected waterways unless absolutely necessary until conditions return to normal,” he said.

Dunn said on the South Coast sustained rainfall has undermined the root systems of some trees on river banks, undermining their root systems and washing them away with other potentially dangerous debris.

Conditions are also extremely dangerous within the Murray Inland region with most waterways in the area in some stage of flooding.

“When conditions return to normal boaters should also be aware that navigation aids may be misplaced or missing due to the floods and therefore they should take the necessary precautions when navigating these rivers,” Dunn said.

He added that with more heavy rainfall forecast for the south of the State, people should monitor the Bureau of Meteorology website for the latest advice.