Options for launching a trailerboat
Reviewed Jul 2016
The type of boating you plan on doing will dictate where you launch your vessel. A number of launching ramps exist in the area all of which are generally in good condition and can accommodate both large and small boats.
If you are planning to cruise the river on your boat then you will most likely launch from Fosters Bay. There are two public access ramps in Fosters Bay, one is located between the Taylor Bros. and Quarter Deck take-away, and the other is around past the Simply Seafood Restaurant. The ramp between Taylor Bros. and Quarter Deck offers a public jetty to tie up to after launching as well as fresh water and fish cleaning facilities but the water isn't very deep and would only be suitable for boats up to around 23 feet in length. The other ramp has no jetty to tie up to but does have deeper water as well as fresh water and fish cleaning facilities.
Apex Park would be the best place to launch if you are planing to head out to the island. To get to Apex Park, head north out of Narooma across the bridge. About 200 metres past the bridge, as the road bends around to the left, there is a small road that turns off to the right. Turn down there and follow it around until you get to Apex Park (about 800 metres). If your boat is large then turning off the Highway at this point might be difficult, in that case continue North for another 400 metres and take the first turn into Kianga and follow it for about 1.5 kilometres and take the second turn on your right. Follow it around until you get to Apex Park.
Narooma Bar Crossing
Reviewed Mar 2016
Heading to sea: The Bar at Narooma is notorious for its dangerous currents and waves but if you follow a few simple rules and always be cautious you will be fine. The best advice that can be given about crossing the Bar is, "if in doubt, don't go out". NOTE: ALWAYS WEAR YOUR LIFEJACKET WHEN CROSSING THE BAR.
Always cross the bar during the incoming tide, never on the outgoing tide. When the tide is going out the current is extremely strong and with the pressure of the sea trying to get in and the strength of the river trying to get out a strong "short chop" which will breach even the largest of boats is created. Often during an incoming tide the bar is nice and flat so check your tide guide for current tidal movements. Bar conditions can change dramatically within just a few minutes so be aware and on the lookout.
Approach the bar and circle for a few minutes before deciding whether or not to proceed. By this time you should have contacted the Coastal Patrol on channel 86 and logged in (you MUST do this). Monitor the Bar for a few minutes, taking special note of wave conditions at the sea side of the rock walls, time the waves as they come in as well as watch the size of them. If you decide that you are going to attempt the crossing then approach the start of your run from the northern side of the Bar about 20 metres off the rocks and make your run in a straight line diagonally for the southern side of the rock wall. When making your run try and make sure that the waves you had been timing earlier are not there when you arrive at the end. Once you begin your run, do not stop. Never lose your nerve because you will be unable to turn around once your run begins. If you do approach a wave at the end of the bar then throttle back and idle up over it. Never hit a wave face with full throttle or side on. If all has gone well then you should still be in your boat and the boat should still be upright and floating when you reach the end of the bar (a little joke there). Make a turn to the right and head for the southern tip of Montague Island for about 500 metres. You're on your own now and past the danger zone.
I have seen many boats heading for the sea come up the river towards the bar and turn towards the ocean and go without circling for a few minutes to familiarise themselves with current bar conditions. This is a very stupid thing to do because during the approach you can not see what the conditions are like nor can you see if another boat is about to come in. If you come flying around the corner intending to go straight out and another boat is coming in then you are both going to come to grief. Put your boat on your trailer and take it back to where ever you purchased it and tell them "I want to sell my boat because I am irresponsible!"
Returning From Sea: As with leaving the Bar you should never return during an outgoing tide, always return on an incoming tide. Returning is basically the opposite of leaving. As you approach the Bar from the sea, line up with the southern point of the bar from about 500 metres out making sure that once you start your run you can maintain a straight line all the way through the Bar until you reach the northern side at the other end (diagonal). Start your run making certain that you can match the speed of the waves as you come in. Waves begin to develop from about 300 metres out on a bad day so starting your run from 500 metres should allow you 200 metres for speed adjustment. If there are a lot of waves try and sit between two small ones. Often the waves are quite close together so sit on the back of one if necessary. Never let the wave behind you catch up and never overtake the wave in front as this will swamp your vessel. After you have matched the speed of a wave set follow them all the way in. Once you have commenced your run you must stay committed. Never try and turn back or allow a wave to side swipe you. After passing the first point on the rock wall maintain speed and heading then when your about half way through you can accelerate to full speed until you need to make your left hand turn into the river. You are safe at this point. Don't forget to contact the Coastal Patrol and let them know you have returned. If your boat is having trouble and you need to beach it there is a safe beaching point on the inside of the bar that has a sandy bottom and gentle slope.
If bar conditions on your return stop you from entering then head south for approximately 20 kilometres and go into Bermagui.
Reviewed Sep 2016
Fur seals, Penguins, and a variety of sea birds including the majestic Albatross can be found on and around the Island. All kinds of fish from table to big game can also be landed all around the island. Snapper, Kingfish, Benito, Tuna, Sharks, Trevally, and many more are often caught, in fact quite a lot of world record catches have been made at or around Montague Island. You can not land your boat and walk around the Island unless you have a National Parks and Wildlife official guide with you as the Island is a Nature Reserve and protected by the National Trust. Stay away from the southern end of the Island as there are some very active bomboras there and the seas are generally a little uncomfortable. They call the area south of the island "the Boils" because the two currents that exist around the Island meet at this point and cause the water to chop up. On the western side of the island is a reef which is about 10 to 40 metres down. Directly opposite the lighthouse is called the Foul house and the fishing there is extremely good. The other side and northern tip of the Island is the home to many sharks as well as other big fish like the Southern Bluefin Tuna and at times great schools of Kingfish. The trip to and from the Island will take you about 20 to 30 minutes each way so leave plenty of time to return before dark.
All kinds of fish can be landed
Very active bomboras at southern end of the island
Rescue and Safety - Narooma
Reviewed Jun 2016
The Coastal Patrol at Narooma is a voluntary organisation and they operate all year round. Located at the top of the hill on the southern side of the Bar they have an excellent view on both sides of the bar and out to sea, however, they can not see the bar itself so once you begin your run across the bar you will be out of sight.
Weather reports are broadcast every 2 hours so keep your radio on at all times. Also, whilst it is not compulsory that you log in with them when heading to sea it is strongly recommended. You must tell them your call sign, motor vehicle registration, launch site, and ETR (Estimated Time of Return). Your ETR is very important so if you decide to stay out longer you must radio in and let them know because it is now the law that any overdue boats be reported to the police.
Operators of the Coastal Patrol are experienced and you should take note of their recommendations. For example, if you are logging on and heading to sea and they advise against it then you must turn around and return up the river. Too many people have disobeyed advice and come to grief so listen to what you're told.
The Coastal Patrol are a voluntary organisation and receive no form of government funding, if you want to make a donation go up and visit them on top of the hill. They give up there time to help you so give them a few dollars to keep them going.
Reviewed Aug 2016
Montague Island is 6nm off shore of Narooma. It is a nature reserve teaming with wild life such as fur seals, little penguins, shearwaters, dolphins, turtles and or course, the seasonal whales. You can only visit the island on a tour with the Park Ranger. The Narooma Visitor Centre can book this for you. The waters are amazingly clear, there are shipwrecks to explore, and dive tours can also be arranged.