After the storm, east coast counts the cost

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The Marine Rescue base at Terrigal took a battering over the weekend.
The Marine Rescue base at Terrigal took a battering over the weekend.

Boaters urged to take extra care while east coast waterways are cleaned up.

In the wake of the storm which pummelled the east coast of Australia in recent days, marine authorities in NSW are warning boaters to take extra care when navigating local waterways.

In Sydney, Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) principal manager, Alex Barrell, said all waterways in the region, including the Georges, Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers are suffering the after-effects of the weekend’s excessive wind and rain.

“Roads and Maritime Services operational staff are busy removing debris from the water, reinstating navigation aids, buoys and signs and helping boat owners recover vessels,” he said.

“All non-essential boating should be postponed as there is a large amount of rubbish and debris, including trees and vegetation as well as building materials and other large items expected in the water.

“Some debris is obvious and some submerged or semi-submerged, which can be extremely hazardous for boaters.

“Many of the navigation aids which guide boaters away from hazards have washed away and although Boating Safety Officers are working hard to reinstate them, it could be several weeks before they are all back in the correct location which means dangerous areas could be left unmarked.”

Numerous vessels sunk

RMS reported that several large boats broke their moorings at various locations in the Sydney region during the storm including at Port Hacking, Sydney Harbour and the Georges River. At least eight large vessels are reported to have sunk as well as a number of pontoons.

On the NSW north coast, numerous vessels were also damaged as a result of the wild weather.

Marine Rescue NSW reported that its volunteers in Coffs Harbour helped rescue a dozen people from their boats moored at a floating pontoon that was torn from the marina in 50 knot winds. The pontoon was swept up on to the beach.

Volunteers at Port Macquarie had all three rescue vessels out to assist three yachts that broke their moorings and were washed up on nearby rocks. One of the crews was called to clear a BBQ pontoon boat that also broke its moorings and became entangled in the cables of the Hibbard Street ferry across the Hastings River.

“At Coffs Harbour Marina, one vessel has been boomed to contain a small amount of diesel after it sank during the stormy conditions. Another vessel is at risk of sinking and several vessels have required relocation after damage to the marina," said RMS principal manager North, Sonia McKay.

“In Shoal Bay, Port Stephens, four vessels have been torn from their moorings with two being washed onto the beach. One of the vessels is now destroyed beyond repair after repeatedly being smashed by waves.

“Also at Shoal Bay, a motor cruiser has sunk and is now washing up in pieces on the beach and in surrounding water.”

The Marine Rescue NSW base at Terrigal on the central coast was also damaged in the storm with large swells battering the ocean-front building, causing flooding and structural damage.

It was a similar story on the south coast with vessels breaking their moorings at Wollongong Harbour, Shoalhaven River and Jervis Bay. The boat ramp pontoon at Quarantine Bay in Eden was damaged to the point where it is now unusable.

RMS also reminded boaters, in the aftermath of the storm, they need to check the condition of their moorings.

“Holders of mooring licences are responsible for damage caused by their boat or mooring to any other vessel or property,” said Barrell.

Tasmania also bore the brunt of the storm resulting in some of the worst floods seen in many years. There are major flood warnings for seven rivers on the island – the Mersey, Forth, Meander, Derwent, North and South Esk rivers, and Macquarie.

Flood waters on the Mersey at Devonport resulted in several yachts being swept away from the marina at the Mersey Yacht Club.

Nautilus steps up support

In the wake of the storm, Nautilus Marine Insurance which provides insurance for many boat owners and marine businesses in the region, has stepped up support for anybody needing to make a claim.

“We have senior claims staff from Nautilus on hand to assist claim lodgement and provide immediate support. During these events, there are extra staff and infrastructure put in place to support any policy holders affected.

“Our aim is to work with repairers and loss adjusters in the region to expedite repairs to have our clients ready as ever for their boating activities. Claims support is on hand 24/7 and we ask that immediate reporting of any damage or incidents as always are reported as soon as possible to our offices across Australia.”

The toll-free number for assistance is 1300 780 533.

NMI claim advice:

  • If you have received damage please contact your insurance adviser or our office immediately. Have your policy number handy but, if not to hand, we can support over the phone.
  • Be sure to leave phone numbers and addresses where you can be reached during both the day and evening hours. We will assign a loss adjuster to assess the damage to your property.
  • Keep all receipts, and take photographs both before and after emergency repairs.
  • For non-urgent notifications, use our on-line claims lodgement service.
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