Sailors and skippers warned

Two people were winched off this stricken yacht off Byron Bay this morning, prompting a warning to all boat skippers and sailors.
Two people were winched off this stricken yacht off Byron Bay this morning, prompting a warning to all boat skippers and sailors.

THE rescue of a crew from a stricken yacht off the North Coast this morning has prompted a warning to sailors and boat skippers of heavy seas, which will last until the weekend.

The emergency unfolded 50 nautical miles off the coast of Byron Bay.

Two people were winched from the distressed yacht Morning Tide, which was sailing en-route from the Central Coast to Brisbane.  

The yacht reported engine problems overnight and gained the assistance of bulk carrier Amarantha until the rescue was conducted.

AUSSAR tasked an Emergency Medical Queensland aircraft to winch a male, 70, and a female, 32, from the vessel and airlift them to Brisbane.

The Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopter also attended.

Strong wind gusts and three and half metre waves stopped the Coffs Harbour Water Police vessel from leaving the harbour.

With a gale force warning for 35 knot winds between Point Danger and Yamba, and seas up to six metres, maritime authorities have warned all smaller vessells to seek the safety of ports or harbours.

In its 11am update the bureau stated a low pressure system in the southern Coral Sea is deepening as a high pressure system south-east of Tasmania extends a ridge over North-western NSW.

The combination of the two system will lead to increasing wind speeds over the northern part of the coast.

RMS A/General Manager Maritime Operations Trevor Williams said skippers and owners of small craft should be on high alert and to check the conditions before considering crossing a coastal bar or heading offshore.

"Dangerous surf conditions can easily translate into dangerous conditions for rock fishing and for vessels crossing coastal bars," Mr Williams said.

"Strong winds can also mean dangerous conditions for vessels on moorings which have been poorly maintained.

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