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Authorities remind Figure Eight Pool visitors of dangers of the sea

Media release: 5 February 2016

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Surf Life Saving NSW (SLSNSW) are urging people who are planning on visiting Figure Eight Pools in Royal National Park to heed all warning signs and check ocean conditions are safe before climbing onto the rock ledges.

NPWS Local Area Manager Kane Weeks said the area had been popular, but in recent months visitation had increased, possibly driven by social media sites.

"This site has been popular for decades largely without problem, but the recent incidents appear to be the result of people disregarding coastal warnings and local signage and putting themselves at risk by going out onto the rock ledge in unsafe conditions,” Mr Weeks said.

"As a result, NPWS has further strengthened signage at the site in the past few weeks including additional warning signs at the Garawarra Farm car park (the starting point of the 3km trek to the site) and a prominent sign at the access to the Figure 8 Pool rock shelf itself.

"The vast majority of visitors to both national parks and other coastline areas have a very healthy respect for staying away from exposed rock ledges, especially when the seas are large and conditions are not safe.

"Like all our natural wild environments they should be entered into with great respect for their power and unpredictability - the wind and the sea have worked together at this site carving out the rock for thousands of years to create these uniquely shaped pools.

"We cannot stress enough to people, especially those less experienced with swimming, bushwalking or venturing into these environments, to take extreme care and don't disregard the warning signs or the coastal warnings."

Surf Life Saving NSW said they have been proactive, issuing hazardous surf safety warnings for this location when necessary but people aren’t checking tidal or swell conditions or heeding advice, which is extremely frustrating.

"Whether it’s at the beach, a river or a rock ledge near the open sea, we all have a responsibility for our own safety,” said Lifesaving Manager Andy Kent.

"The power of the sea should not be underestimated and basic safety advice such as always watching the waves and not to turning your back on the ocean when on a rock ledge are just not being followed. Rockfishers in particular should take care and always wear a lifejacket.

"Right along the Australian coastline rock ledges are inherently dangerous, especially when they are exposed to the open sea.

"Swimming in unpatrolled coastal areas is taking a risk no matter where you are and unfortunately we frequently see even experienced swimmers get into trouble when the sea conditions are right."

NPWS advised people to plan by checking coastal information, taking note of all warning signage and to visit the website for more information: (www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/Lookouts/figure-eight-pools)

For information about patrolled beaches and times, weather and conditions visit the Beachsafe website (www.beachsafe.org.au) or download the App.

"It is a long trek in and that also requires people to plan their trip to these beautiful pools," Mr Weeks said.

"It is certainly worth the effort as they are truly special but as with all wild environments, being prepared and taking care of yourself and others should be everyone's first priority."

Contact: Angela Read

Page last updated: 05 February 2016