Gallery: Weather closes Illawarra beaches

Heavy swells ahead of tonight storms have seen all but one of the Illawarra beaches closed.

Surf Life Saving Illawarra duty officer Stuart Massey said the only beach that was still open is Sandon Point.

‘‘That beach has got a little bit of protection from the swell but that may change as the day progresses,’’ Mr Massey said.

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He said there are a number of boardriders in the water who have been attracted by the large swell and that several riders at Bulli had to be rescued by lifesavers after getting into difficulty.

While patrols will be on duty, Mr Massey said people are advised to stay out of the water today. 

The large surf conditions are also creating strong rips that could see people dragged out to sea ‘‘like a freight train’’.

Then they - or the lifesavers rescuing them - would face the battering surf condition as they fought their way back to shore.

The heavy swell will also be dangerous for rock fishermen and authorities are advising them to stay away until conditions ease.

Roads and Maritime Services also issued a warning that skippers and owners of small craft should be on high alert and check the conditions before considering any boating activity, particularly crossing a coastal bar or heading offshore. 

Strong winds can also mean dangerous conditions for vessels on moorings which have been poorly maintained.  Vessels should be prepared in advance for adverse weather, attempting to secure vessels in strong wind can be extremely dangerous.

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