Surf lifesavers have rescued at least seven people in extremely hazardous conditions on the Ballina bar after their outrigger vessel capsized.

Surf Life Saving NSW said that at around 6.30 this morning, Surf Life Saving NSW received a call for assistance at the entrance to the Richmond River. The Ballina Jet Rescue Boat and surf rescue jet skis were immediately tasked, along with the Westpac Rescue helicopter.

When they arrived on the scene, the Jet Rescue Boat retrieved four people from the water and transported them back up the river to waiting ambulances, while the jet ski remained with another two people still in the water.

The boat returned to pick up the two and another person, who had managed to clamber up the breakwall at the rivermouth.

The patients were treated by ambulance officers for minor injuries such as cuts and scratches.

The rescue was extremely difficult, as the victims had been dragged out of the river into the sea, where weather and surf conditions have deteriorated significantly. Fortunately, most of the victims appeared to be clinging to lifejackets.

The crew onboard the Jet Rescue Boat described the conditions as ‘treacherous’, with a potentially deadly combination of large, choppy surf and a run-out tide at the entrance to the rivermouth.

This is the second incident in the last two days at the same location. Yesterday a 10-metre catamaran charter vessel also capsized after being swamped by a large wave.

State Duty Officer Jimmy Keough says both Surf Life Saving and Marine Rescue NSW strongly advise people to avoid the Ballina bar until conditions improve.

“Our guys did an amazing job this morning – it really is shocking out there at the moment,” he said.

“It’s rough and choppy and the visibility is very poor, with constant showers sweeping across the coast.”

He also praised the efforts of one of the Ballina Lighthouse SLSC club members who assisted the rescue effort by managing to pick up one woman on his racing ski and transport her to shore.

Local surfers also stayed with some of the victims, keeping them calm while waiting for the Jet Rescue Boat to arrive.

Large, dangerous surf is impacting along much of the coast of NSW with wave heights expected to peak in the next 12-24 hours.

Surf Life Saving NSW advises swimmers, boaties and rockfishermen to take extreme caution and most beaches will remain closed again today.