Agencies urge public not to use sandbar crossing

Ellie HoneyboneSound Telegraph
DPaW marine rangers and surf lifesavers trained together last week and both agencies encourage people to take the ferry and not to cross the Penguin Island sandbar.
Camera IconDPaW marine rangers and surf lifesavers trained together last week and both agencies encourage people to take the ferry and not to cross the Penguin Island sandbar. Credit: Department of Parks and Wildlife

The Department of Parks and Wildlife is once again urging visitors and residents to stay clear of the sandbar crossing between Mersey Point and Penguin Island for safety reasons.

DPaW marine park co-ordinator Melissa Evans said while the sandbar may appear safe to cross, there could always be unforeseen dangers.

“We have seen tragedies in the past and would like to avoid them ever happening again; so the message is do not cross at any time,” she said.

“Weather conditions can change suddenly, strong currents are present and you can never be sure of the (water) depth.

“The department does not want to see people putting themselves in a dangerous situation when there is a ferry service available.”

Ms Evans said while DPaW closed the sandbar regularly when forecast conditions posed a risk, the closures were often ignored.

Last week, DPaW marine rangers caught up with local surf lifesavers for their annual training session, which familiarises both groups with rescue equipment and procedures.

“Marine rangers are based on Penguin Island and lifesavers patrol near Mersey Point, so between the two agencies we can keep a good eye on any situation,” Ms Evans said.

“We work together to make sure everyone is well prepared because despite our warnings we still carry out rescues every single year.”

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