With the Queensland coast expected to be impacted by several cyclones this season, Water Police are reminding local ‘boaties’ not to become complacent in preparing their vessels should a tropical cyclone threaten the area.
All ports in North Queensland have their own Extreme Weather Event Contingency Plans to vessel owners of their requirements should a cyclone be imminent.
These plans detail where vessel owners must move their vessels to in order to minimise damage to infrastructure and other vessels during a cyclone or associated storm surge.
Officer in charge of the Cairns Water Police, Sergeant Andrew Ibell encourages vessel owners to research these plans for their preferred port well in advance and ensure they are well prepared and ready for anything.
“If your vessel is required to be moved prior to a cyclone in accordance with the Extreme Weather Event Contingency Plan, make sure your vessel is kept in a serviceable condition so that it can be moved”, Sergeant Ibell said.
“If you can’t, ensure you prearrange with another vessel owner to help you move to a safe cyclone anchorage.
“Police, Emergency Services and Volunteer Coast Guards often field calls from concerned relatives who have not been informed by family that they are remaining on board during a cyclone or where they are sheltering.
“Should you choose to stay on board in a secure cyclone anchorage during a cyclone make sure you have operating communication systems such as mobile or satellite phone and a marine radio.
“Let friends and family know where you are and check in with them to let them know you are okay.
“Most importantly should you be required to move to a secure cyclone anchorage, do so in such a way that you do not unnecessarily impede the movement of other vessels accessing the same anchorage.
“Not every boatie is experienced in securing their vessel for a cyclone so please look out for and give assistance to the boatie who looks like they need it.
“Lend a hand, where you can do so safely.”
Sergeant Ibell recommends boaties prepare, plan and obey in an effort to prevent damage to your boat and others during severe weather conditions.
- Get a copy of the Extreme Weather Event Contingency Plan for your area and read it.
- Explore your suggested shelter area or inlet before cyclone season starts.
- Update your contact details with the authorities.
- Organise options to move your boat if you will be away during severe weather season.
- Keep a record of emergency telephone numbers handy (for example, regional harbour master, volunteer marine rescue organisations, Queensland Police Service).
- Should you decide to stay on board, ensure you prepare ample food, water, safety equipment and first aid supplies for those on board.
- Know when and where your vessel needs to be during an evacuation.
- Have plenty of suitable mooring lines or anchors to secure a vessel against cyclonic winds and storm surge (rope has more ‘give’ than chain).
- Secure loose articles below deck.
- Secure all hatches.
- Check your boat is watertight.
- Reduce wind loading and remove furled sails and covers, bimini tops and any clears.
- Obey and follow all directions issued by the regional harbour master or others as delegated.
- Do not leave your cyclone mooring until the regional harbour master has given the all clear.
For more information about vessel preparation in severe weather go here .
If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.
You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.