Crossing the St Helens Bar in a trailer boat

The St Helens barway and Pelican Point

The St Helens barway and Pelican Point

St Helens Bar is one of many located up and down the east coast of Australia. Situated at the mouth of Georges Bay it is the  result of a build up of sand across the entrance.   Sand bars change with tide and rainfall, this is the case since the heavy rain events of June and July, 2016. It is an imperative that mariners observe absolute safety when contemplating a crossing.

New Zealand Regional Councils of Waikato and the Bay of Plenty have produced an excellent educational video titled “New Zealand Bar Crossing – How to cross a bar “.

This can be found on You Tube at:

The video strongly urges mariners to undertake thorough preparation and planned execution when crossing a bar. Key principles include:

  • Check the weather forecast;
  • Check the tides;
  • Get local information from St Helens Marine Rescue;
  • Check your boat and safety equipment;
  • Have a plan B ready – launch elsewhere or don’t go.

Tides play a major role in determining the timing of the crossing. The video highlights when going out the best time is between 3 hours prior to high tide and high tide; when returning between 3 hours before high tide and 1.5 hours after. These are a general guide only, again conditions must be suitable for a crossing.

There is a cautionary alert, “Never cross a bar in an open boat if there are waves breaking right across.” The final decision to cross is the responsibility of the skipper. The safety of all on board is critical in the final crossing. Call upon St Helens Marine Rescue to lend assistance. This can be done via VHF Channel 16 or 0408817359.

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Posted in St Helens Barway

Anmaropa Buoy – Re-established

Navigation buoy on the sunken Anmaropa on  22nd July, 2016

Navigation buoy on the sunken Anmaropa on 22nd July, 2016

Mariners are advised the navigation buoy on the sunken vessel Anmaropa  at the St Helens Bar has been re-established. A copy of the email advice from Marine and Safety Tasmania (MaST) is featured below.

It is timely to remind sea farers the conditions on the barway are changed since the recent weather events. Members undertook a survey of the bar Saturday, 22nd July 2016. It was noted the depth profile across the bar is significantly changed.  Additionally, Pelican Point is clearly marked and it too has a changed profile. A skipper’s knowledge of tide and weather conditions are paramount in negotiating a safe passage across the Bar and Pelican Point.

If masters/skippers are contemplating entry into Georges Bay and are unsure, please do not hesitate to contact St Helens Marine Rescue for advice and or assistance. We are available on email at or 0408 817 359. Our radio room operates from 0750 hours - 1210 hours weekdays, 0750hours  - 1710 hours weekends and public holidays as advised in our previous post.

From: “Wells, Julie (MaST)” <>
Date: 15 July 2016 at 10:54:13 AM AEST
To: Undisclosed recipients:;
Subject:MAST – Notice to Mariners – Navigation Wreck Buoy – Georges Bay Barway

Marine and Safety Tasmania


Notice No.:             M125-16

Title:                      Navigation Wreck Buoy – Georges Bay Barway

Valid From:           15/7/2016

Notice Content:

Mariners are advised that the blue and yellow wreck buoy marking the location
of the sunken vessel Anmaropa on the Georges Bay Barway in position 41o
16 237 S; 148o 20 072 E has been re-established in position.

M57-16 is now cancelled.

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Posted in Activities, St Helens Barway

Winter Radio Roster


Important Message to Mariners

Changes to Radio Roster for the Winter:

We have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of vessels logging on to our radio service. Additionally at this time of the year we experience a big reduction in the number of available radio operators. In order to provide this essential service we will continue to do so, however at a reduced level.

The following new arrangements will take place after the June long weekend.

  • Week days will have an operator from 0730 hours until 1210 hours.
  • We will continue the weekend roster as previous, from 0730 until 1710 hours;
  • After hours coverage will continue i.e. a listening watch and via our phone service (0408 817 359).

These arrangements will take effect after the June long weekend i.e. Tuesday 14th.

Training Opportunities for Members:

We always welcome new members who have an interest in maritime safety. St Helens Marine Rescue is a member of the Tasmanian Volunteer Marine Rescue organisation. This enables us to provide a suite of training opportunities including First Aid, VHF Radio Licencing, Vessel Crewing, ESS (Elements of Shipboard Safety), Senior Crew and Coxswain Certification.

Contact us on 6376 2443 OR 0408 817 359 OR email OR drop in at the base on the Esplanade.

John Sullivan (Secretary)

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Commercial Vessels – AMSA Free Workshop in St Helens

Commercial operators in St Helens are invited to a free workshop on the 12th of May, 2016. The aim of the workshop is to give commercial operators an understanding of a Safety Management System (SMS). See details below.

Please RSVP. 

AMSA_NSCV_meeting 12th May 2016

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Posted in Activities

St Helens Marine Rescue Up and Running

St Helens Marine Rescue is pleased to announce the service is up and running, at long last, now we have gained full certification. This required passing the very stringent standards for commercial vessels. Our certificate of Survey arrived on the 10th of February.

We are the first VMR in Tasmania to do so.

Georges Bay in Action

Georges Bay in Action

The new vessel (pictured), “Georges Bay”, is performing impeccably. Again our organisation passes on its heartfelt appreciation to the Community for the wonderful support and encouragement. Georges Bay is a community vessel made possible through the many generous donations and contributions.

Thus far we have responded to numerous calls for assistance for escorts to cross the St Helens Bar and Pelican Point, which remains a challenge particularly at low tides. By and large the vessels seeking assistance come from interstate. Crews have expressed their gratitude for the service, whilst staying they are overwhelmed by the beauty and ambience of our community. They see our glorious location as a welcomed break from the isolation and distances of the sea as they travel largely between Eden to Hobart.

Recently we have seen an increase in membership. We welcome them and anyone who has an interest in maritime activities. We offer a suite of training to suit new members in First Aid, Radio Licencing, Vessel Crewing, ESS (Elements of Shipboard Safety) and Coxswain Certification.

One essential service we are proud of is to provide radio coverage for the St Helens Game Fishing Club. With this we maintain radio contact with all entrants throughout the days of the competition. Hourly schedules call up all vessels to ascertain their location this ensures their safety whilst at sea.

Contact us on 6376 2443 OR 0408 817 359 OR email at: OR drop in at the base on the Esplanade.

John Sullivan (Secretary)

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