The Bureau of Meteorology has a range of services to help marine users including swimmers, rock fishers and boaters make safe choices when the surf is hazardous.
Although the weather and ocean conditions can appear gentle, hazardous surf can arrive with swells from weather systems far from the coast. This creates unsafe conditions for swimmers, rock fishers, and boaters.
In New South Wales and southern Queensland, the Bureau issues Hazardous Surf Warnings and includes caution statements in the relevant text forecasts.
The threshold for hazardous surf is based on wave height, swell direction, and swell period. The thresholds have been determined in consultation with stakeholders.
Hazardous Surf Warnings will be issued where conditions are hazardous for today and/or tomorrow, and can be issued up to 42 hours in advance. The warning can also be cancelled if the conditions settle rapidly.
The warnings are available on the Bureau's National Warnings Summary and on the New South Wales and Queensland state warning summary pages.
The warnings will also be available on Marine Radio, and on the Bureau App and mobile website.
Caution statements are included in New South Wales and southern Queensland forecasts when conditions that are hazardous to swimmers, surfers, boaters, and rock fishers are expected within one or more coastal waters forecast areas.
This information is provided in the relevant Coastal Waters Forecasts, and coastal District, Town and City forecasts, for hazardous conditions occurring today and/or tomorrow.
Two different caution statements are used to reflect different levels of caution.
For Coastal Waters forecasts:
For coastal District, Town and City forecasts:
The caution statement will be removed from the forecast when conditions have eased below the criteria.
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 or Dangerous Surf.
Find out more about the Severe Weather Warning service.