Take some time to plan your trip.
Is your boat suitable?
Have you checked charts and publications?
Is the boat safe?
Remember your general safety obligation – as master/skipper you are responsible for the safety of the boat and the people on board at all times. Regular boat maintenance and motor servicing are essential. Know your boat’s limits, stay within these limits. Know how to load and distribute the weight in your boat for maximum stability. Have the heaviest items placed centrally in a low position in the boat. Distribute passengers evenly around the boat.
If you travel more than 2nm from land you are required to have an EPIRB on board.
Boat care and maintenance:
As part of the general safety obligation it is the owner/operator’s responsibility to ensure the boat is in a seaworthy condition and suitable for the trip.
Regular preventative maintenance and servicing by a qualified mechanic may avoid a breakdown at sea. Some of the causes for engine failure are minor, so you should be able to troubleshoot a problem.
Learn how to change the fuel filter and primer bowl, clean and change spark plugs, check and replace fuses, and change the propeller. You should also carry spares on board whenever you go out.
Check for fuel fumes before starting engine/s. Once a year the fuel tank should be cleaned with suitable cleaning solvent. Inspect the fuel tank for any cracks or corrosion.
Always replace old fuel with new fuel after periods of inactivity. Inspect fuel lines, manual priming bulb and connections for cracks and leaks. Clean out or replace the fuel filter.
Ensure proper ventilation. If voltage is low, charge the battery at a rate that is suitable to the battery. The battery should never be overcharged. Batteries should always be secured in brackets. Terminals should be kept clean and greased regularly.
Conduct a general check of the boat before each trip. Inspect the boat for corrosion, cracks and general wear and tear. Test steering gear for stiffness. Self draining holes must be kept clear -check drain flaps and lubricate if necessary. If LPG is fitted, ensure the system is regularly serviced. Ensure bilges are clean and dry. Check for water and fuel leaks. Inspect anchor, shackles and ropes for any sign of wear and replace if necessary. Inspect safety equipment and EPIRB for any deterioration or damage (including expiry dates). EPIRB’s need to be registered with AMSA.
Tell someone where you are going:
Log your trip with Marine Rescue Hervey Bay. You will be asked the vessel name, registration details, number of persons on board (POB), your destination, your estimated time of return as well as your mobile number.
You should also advise a family member or friend of your intended trip with an indication of when to advise authorities if you are not back.
Weather -make the safe call:
Queensland’s weather systems are changeable and unpredictable. Good weather is critical for a safe and comfortable trip. Forecasts should be obtained when planning a trip, before you leave and updated while you are out on the water.
MRHB issue general weather forecasts on Ch67 at 7.15am, 12.15pm and 5.15pm every day. Weather warnings may be issued more frequently.
Marine Safety Queensland’s Weather Service provides weather information from the Bureau of Meteorology at the cost of a local phone call.
All of Queensland 1300 360 426
Marine Warnings 1300 360 427
South-East Queensland 1300 360 428
Information on current wind, cyclone and tsunami warnings can also be found on the Bureau of Meteorology website at www.bom.gov.au
See Maritime Safety Queensland‘s website for more information: www.msq.qld.gov.au