ON GUARD: Coffs Harbour City Council’s lifeguard services team leader Greg Hackfath urges people to be aware of potential dangers.
ON GUARD: Coffs Harbour City Council’s lifeguard services team leader Greg Hackfath urges people to be aware of potential dangers.

Powerful swell keeps region’s surf lifesavers on close watch

STRONG swells made for challenging surf conditions as the region's volunteer surf lifesavers resumed patrols for the 2015/16 season.

A southerly swell of up 3.5m reached the Coffs Coast on Thursday as authorities issued a warning to boaters, rock fishermen, swimmers and surfers to take care in the dangerous surf.

Coffs Harbour City Council's lifeguard services team leader Greg Hackfath said conditions should ease into next week and he encouraged people to remain aware of potential dangers.

"The swell this week was solid - there were a lot of strong currents around and we were warning people not to go out too far," Mr Hackfath said.

"For people who swim in these conditions, we've been advising they stay out of trouble by not going out too far. There are a lot of tourists this time of year, and we've been urging people to be mindful of the conditions and not to put themselves or their rescuers at risk."

Mr Hackfath said conditions had been less severe at a number of local beaches including Woolgoolga and Park Beach which were protected from the swell.

This week's conditions were the result of a cold front bringing a strong southerly change to the NSW coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology is also forecasting strong marine winds and dangerous conditions for this weekend.

"The best advice we can give is for people to understand their own limitations, and if they have any doubt it is best not to go out," Mr Hackfath said.