INVERLOCH SES volunteers have urged boat users to heed warnings about the Anderson Inlet entrance crossing, after a spate of recent incidents.
The entrance has several bars which can be treacherous to cross even for the most experienced boat drivers.
Inverloch SES Deputy Controller Ian Barlow said the entrance is one of the worst to cross in Victoria.
“It’s too dangerous, unless you know exactly where that channel is and that channel moves virtually weekly.
“Anyone that doesn’t know that bar shouldn’t go across alone. Follow someone who knows what they’re doing. Listen to what people say.
“The bottom line is, as long as you go out at half-tide in to half-tide out, you should be OK if you know where the channel is.
“Incoming tide is the safest. Outgoing is the most dangerous time to go out, because it comes out about six or seven knots here and it hits the waves, all of a sudden the waves stand up on you and there will be a sheer wall of water. Whereas if it’s an incoming tide, the water’s all flowing one way so it’s not quite as vicious.”
The Inverloch SES has been called to four jobs involving the crossing in recent months, with one boat still missing after a group of divers came to trouble whilst crossing the bars.
Mr Barlow told the story of another recent near-miss.
“Two or three weeks ago, a boat’s motor stalled halfway going through the bar,” he said.
“Luckily they were smart enough to throw the anchor over and with the incoming tide, it kept the boat into the waves and they started the boat back up. It was so strong they couldn’t get the anchor up so they had to cut the anchor off.
“If you go out with the incoming tide carefully, you’re ok, but if you do not know the bar, do not go near it. It’s just not worth it.
“I’ve had my boat since 1987 and I’ve been out there once, that was enough for me.
“If it’s looking like a real problem for the SES, we’d look at launching at Welshpool or Newhaven – it’s better and safer.”
Beware of the bars