King tide batters beach at Crescent Head

The Macleay Valley Coast’s beaches are experiencing powerful swells and beachgoers are advised to take precautions.

The Westpac Rescue Helicopter is tasked on a primary mission to search the water off Lighthouse Beach at Port Macquarie for a child that has gone missing in the rough surf south of Watonga Rocks. 

An emergency services alert was issued just after 1.30pm on Wednesday, December 6 with Marine Rescue Port Macquarie, lifeguards, emergency services crews and the Westpac Rescue Helicopter responding.

The missing child is an 11-year-old boy and is believed to have been pulled out in a rip, a NSW Ambulance Media spokesperson confirmed.

A second child was pulled from the surf and is being treated at the scene by NSW Ambulance paramedics.

Head lifeguard James Turnham said a drone will also be put in the sky shortly to assist with the search.

Currently, waves are hammering the coastline at Crescent Head with just a few experienced surfers braving the rough conditions.

A southerly swell is gradually moving up the coast with beaches from the Far South Coast through to the Northern NSW expected to be impacted.

On-shore waves are between the 2-3 metre mark in some unprotected areas while conditions are significantly more powerful out to sea.

NSW Lifesaving Manager Matt du Plessis is urging the public to be aware of the conditions and to only swim at a patrolled location.

“There is quite a powerful undertow off the coast presently, a lot of moving water and we’re seeing rip currents form at many Sydney beach,” he said.

“That is why the beaches are closed, and we are strongly encouraging people to know their limitations and to stay out of the water if they have any doubts at all.”

As schools and workplaces begin to break up for summer and crowds expected to flock to the beach, lifesavers are reiterating key safety messages.

“The red and yellow flags are there for a reason and we urge you to make that effort to swim there,” Mr du Plessis said.

“We’ve had several instances of people being pulled from rips over the last week so please take those few extra seconds to evaluate the conditions and to talk to the lifesaver or lifeguard on duty.”

Conditions are expected to ease in the coming days.

General Safety Tips During Hazardous Surf Conditions: 

* Avoid rock fishing and water activities on exposed beaches/rock-shelves

* Only swim at patrolled beaches, between the red & yellow flags. See for patrolled locations/times          

* Check the official Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecast before

undertaking rock fishing and water activities  

* Boaties should seek advice from Marine Rescue NSW and always wear a lifejacket 

* If witnessing an in-water emergency dial Triple Zero – Police