GUARDIANS OF THE COASTLINE
It was great to see the Margaret River Volunteer Marine Rescue Group highlighting some key boat safety messages in this newspaper last week. Thanks to the Augusta/MR Mail for making the effort to showcase these wonderful ‘guardians’. This group is continuing to go from strength to strength with increased membership, upgraded Gracetown training facility and a new towing vehicle in the planning stage. Most importantly, the Group has proven over many years of dedicated service in the Capes region, that they are reliable, well resourced and able to respond quickly and efficiently to any marine incidents in the area. If you are a keen boatie or looking to contribute something back into the community, then come along and get involved. Great idea would be to come along to their AGM at the Gnarabup Shed ( next to Margaret River Resort ) 730pm, Wed October 5. Promise you won’t get railroaded into any office bearer positions. Just a perfect opportunity to meet and greet.
With the weather slowly changing, what better time to reiterate some of these key boat safety messages, in the hope that they sink in, as opposed to your boat ‘sinking’. Remember, owning a big boat does not mean the risks are any less. A sad reminder of this were the two fishos lost off Coral Bay in an 8.5metre boat and another guy lost off Perth in a 6.4metre boat, earlier this year. Boating is a bit like driving a vehicle, in that the more you do it the greater the chance of something eventually going wrong. Most boaties know these key message, but do you follow them?
-Keep your vessel maintained in good condition. This includes outboard motor servicing, boat trailer and general hull condition.
-Dispose of any old fuel safely and carry 50% in reserve for any trip.
-Check all safety gear is in date, in good condition, easily accessible in either a grab bag, dry bag or storage barrel and that anyone who comes on board is briefed on it’s location and how to use it.
-Life jackets. Make your own decision, but I wear inflatable PFDs constantly and so does everyone on board. Try putting on those cheap yellow square ones with your eyes closed one day and see how much trouble you have!
-Skipper should wear the motor kill switch while underway, to avoid falling overboard and watching the boat heading off, or worse still doing a circle and coming back to bite you.
-Always check the weather ( wind and waves most critical ) before a trip on BOM, Willyweather or other internet sites that are regularly updated.
-Log your trip with ACRM Base on VHF Ch 80 every time. If no radio, leave a clear trip plan with someone reliable in case you get into difficulty.
-Check those damn bungs before leaving, or better still if you have a bilge pump, turn it on once you’ve launched as a double check.
-Ensure batteries are charged and kept on charge when not in use.
If you are new to boating or just really keen to follow up on these key messages in more detail, I have created a more comprehensive explanation on my website. Click on ‘Safety & Maintenance Tips’ at the bottom of the Sea Soaring Marine home page and all will be revealed. Meanwhile, fishos please leave a few Dhuies in the ocean for when I return a few weeks before the closure of the demersal season on October 15.
To answer last week’s question, the outline on the dorsal fin of a Barramundi Cod is iridescent yellow. This week’s question is, ‘How many knots of wind speed is required for a strong wind warning to be in place?’
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