Hazardous Surf Messages

When is a message about hazardous surf issued?

Messages about hazardous surf are included in New South Wales forecasts whenever waves large enough to cause hazardous conditions to swimmers, surfers and rock fishers are expected within one or more coastal waters forecast areas.

Information about hazardous surf is included within relevant forecasts when conditions are expected to be hazardous during today or tomorrow.

The threshold for issuing a message for hazardous surf is based on wave height, swell direction and swell period. The thresholds have been determined in consultation with stakeholders.


What information is included in forecasts?

The forecasts may contain either of the following two message styles:

For Coastal Waters forecasts,

"Caution: Large and powerful surf conditions are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as crossing bars by boat and rock fishing."

"Caution: Deceptively powerful surf conditions are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as crossing bars by boat and rock fishing."

For coastal District, Town and City forecasts,

"Large and powerful surf conditions are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as rock fishing, swimming and surfing."

"Deceptively powerful surf conditions are expected to be hazardous for coastal activities such as rock fishing and swimming."

The hazardous surf statement will be removed from the forecast when conditions have eased below the criteria.


Who is the target audience?

Hazardous surf affects people involved in coastal activities such as swimming, surfing, boating and rock fishing.


What areas does the hazardous surf information cover?

The service covers all the Bureau’s coastal waters zones along the New South Wales coastline.
See: Map of coastal forecast areas.


Other services for large waves

When the waves are expected to be powerful enough to cause damage to property or significant erosion to beaches the Bureau will issue a Severe Weather Warning for Damaging Surf.

Background information about the Severe Weather Warning.


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