KEVIN Thompson has looked out to sea from the Marine Rescue tower at North Wall in Ballina for 23 years.
And what did he see?
He saw some "bloody stupid" acts from boaties trying to cross the dangerous bar.
Kevin, 85, has now stood down from tower duties, but will stay on with the volunteer rescue organisation in a training capacity. He has served as the unit's search and rescue officer.
Kevin joined the Ballina Marine Rescue unit after retiring to Ballina.
He had served in the Royal Australian Navy for 12 years from 1945 to 1957.
He was a "greenie" in the navy - which is the nickname given to electricians.
After discharge, he worked at Sydney's Prospect County Council before moving to Ballina when he retired.
He urged boaties to have the utmost respect for the water.
"There's the old saying: If in doubt, don't go out," he said about the bar.
Meanwhile, at the launch last week of the BoatSmart safety program for NSW school students, State Member for Ballina and Minister for the North Coast, Don Page, said the Ballina bar in particular was one of the more dangerous in the State.
He said dredging had begun on some bars in NSW.
"Bars haven't been dredged in NSW for 30 to 40 years," he said.
"It's important we get navigable channels safe and deep as they used to be.
"We see more of our bars becoming more and more dangerous all the time."
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