Boaties fear Tragedy at Mooloolah River entrance

Mooloolah River entrance
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Sunshine Coast boaties are calling for the Mooloolah River mouth to be dredged again, saying a build-up of sand has left it extremely dangerous to cross.

Maritime Safety Queensland issued a shoal warning on the river entrance on Tuesday, saying it had put in new buoys to mark a safer entrance and exit to the river.


But with the channel now very close to the left rock wall, boaties fear it will only be a matter of time before large waves sees a vessel pushed onto the rockwall.

Last weekend, the Mooloolaba Coast Guard warned boat owners thinking of going to sea about the bar and the water depth and that many larger boats would not be able to cross the bar when returning home at the low tide.

'A few yachts didn't join the Mooloolaba Yacht Club's Sunday race fearing they would have to wait for the high tide late Sunday night to cross the bar and those who did go sailing had trouble when returning to port, with a couple hitting the bottom,' sailor Richard Campbell-Burns said.

'It was lucky the weather was favourable but there were still waves occasionally breaking on the shallow sections.

'It will only take one rogue wave to push a boat on to the rocks or over turn a boat containing a young family which could easily lead to the loss of a life,' Mr Campbell-Burns warned.

'As one of Queensland's best holiday boating destinations and with the Easter Break fast approaching lot of local and visiting boating families will be wanting to crossing the bar.

He said the Coast's fishing industry, already battered by a shocking run of rough weather, did not need more reasons for them to be stuck in port.

'There needs to be some long term plan (and) action to help make the river mouth safe for all users without any major impact on the enviroment,' Mr Campbell-Burns said.

'The river is an area of the Sunshine Coast that has been sadly neglected over the last couple of years, the dredging that was done a few years back at a high cost helped for a while but the river has returned to where it was we need a long term plan to make sure this situation is not alowed to happen again.'

Dredging of the river was carried out in August last year, at a cost of $250,000.

A Queensland Transport spokesperson said both QT and Maritime Safety Queensland were aware of the sand shoal restricting access to the river entrance.

'Maritime Safety Queensland issued a ‘Notice to Mariners’ on 1 February 2008 advising local vessels to navigate the area with caution,' the spokesperson said.

'Maritime Safety Queensland are surveying the entrance on a weekly basis to monitor the shoal and the entrance depths.

'Queensland Transport is arranging a dredging contractor to carry out works to remove the shoal by the method of bed levelling in mid April if the shoal has not naturally cleared itself by this time.'