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Those are the key tips for boaties crossing the Taieri Mouth bar.
About 100 people attended an educational public safety meeting at the Brighton Surf Life Saving Club yesterday evening about crossing the bar.
It follows recent incidents where boats were overturned while crossing the bar.
Guest speakers included recreational fisherman and diver Ray Beattie who said the most important tips for crossing the "dangerous and unpredictable" bar safely were "patience and planning".
He recommended viewing the bar from high observation point before crossing and using a GPS while heading out to track the way back.
If local commercial boats were tied up, that was often a sign it was not safe to go out, he said.
"If in doubt don’t go out.
"There is always another day for fishing."
Otago harbourmasters Steve Rushbrook and deputy Pete Dryden spoke about the importance of inflatable life jackets, ensuring they were in good condition, and that the crutch strap was worn.
Senior Sergeant Brian Benn told the crowd he had rescued people and recovered bodies from the bar.
The quickest emergency services had got to a capsized boat was 30 minutes, but it could take between 30 to 60 minutes before someone became unconscious in the cold water, he said.
"The better thing to do is prevention."