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Your boating tips this holiday season

The family is around and it’s finally time to pull the boat out of the shed for the festive season. And if our boating tips are as clear as the pristine water seen below, we’re confident you’ll have a safe and memorable holiday for the right reasons.

QPV Brett Irwin tender vessel tied behind the main vessel anchored at North Flinders Reef during a recent patrol. Water here is 7m deep. This photo was taken on a mobile without editing.

Given that this time of the year observes an increase in both traffic volume on the water and increased storms along the coast, here are a few safety ideas to keep in mind before you head out on your next water adventure.

  • Being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs when operating any vessel is extremely dangerous and will not be tolerated. Water Police conduct breath testing and drug testing on all Queensland waters.
  • All vessels are required to carry the correct safety equipment for the area in which they are operating. Life jackets must be in a good serviceable condition, flares must also be in good condition and in date (they expire three years after the date of manufacture). EPIRB’s (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) must be registered with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to assist and enhance search and rescue operations. These items should be checked prior to heading out on the water.
  • A suitable marine radio should be carried and utilised where required. Mobile telephones should not be relied upon as a primary means of communication when out on the water.
  • Where required by legislation, vessels must be registered and under the control of a person with an appropriate marine drivers licence.
  • Speed limits on waterways are enforced by Water Police officers. All vessels must be operated at a safe speed at all times.
  • Vessel masters need to be aware of the effect their vessels wash can have in busy waterways and not create unsafe situations for other vessel operators, as well as people on the shoreline.
  • Check the weather forecast before setting out. Monitor the weather at all times whilst out on the water to avoid getting caught out if the conditions change.
  • Know your vessel’s capabilities and do not at any time overload your vessel with too many people or equipment. Ensure sufficient fuel is carried on board your vessel for the intended voyage with plenty in reserve to cater for unexpected situations such as a weather change.
  • Tell someone exactly where you are going on your intended voyage and exactly when you are returning. If your plans change advise someone or the local volunteer marine rescue group of your changes. This greatly assists search and rescue authorities if you fail to return as advised when commencing search operations.

Enjoy your time out on the water these holidays, and remember to avoid unnecessary risks that could ultimately result in tragedy.

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