SAFETY EQUIPMENT REVIEW
The Department of Transport (DoT) is conducting a review of the safety equipment required to be carried on recreational craft used on all WA waters, including inland waterways, rivers and lakes. If you are a keen boatie, sailor, kayaker, PWC operator or sailboarder, then you should really take the opportunity to have some input into this process.
In my view it is critical to have an informed opinion before completing the survey and so reading the discussion paper, which provides statistical data and a clear outline of the current situation, is a must. For me, the whole process took only just over half an hour. I am conscious of allowing the community to have input and respect there will be differing views on some aspects of the review. This review is quite thorough and covers the following safety equipment: Lifejackets, Flares. EPIRBs, PLBs, Liferaft, Radio, Distress signalling sheet, Compass, Fire bucket, Fire extinguisher, Fire blanket, Bilge pumps and bilge alarms, Paddles and/or oars, Anchor and cable, First aid kit, Torch and Tracking devices.
During my RST and Marine Radio courses, I deal with many of the issues that are highlighted in the DofT statistical analysis of the most hazardous incidents in WA from 2007-2014. Of the 873 incidents recorded, the top were Collisions ( 35% ), Capsize and Groundings ( both 13% each respectively ). I have regularly expressed my personal views on the storage of safety equipment in vessels and the difficulty of accessing this equipment in the event of a capsize. With flares under the console, EPIRB bracketed to the vessel and lifejackets under a forward hatch, the situation becomes extremely complicated. The review seeks opinion on the distances out to sea when this equipment should be on board and if any requirements for the wearing of lifejackets should be introduced.
Anyone who has travelled interstate will be aware of the varying regulations that exist in relation to safety equipment on vessels. It is fair to say that WA is more lenient in regard to many aspects of compulsory safety equipment required. For example, if you are boating on the Swan River, Mandurah/Peel inlet, Nornalup Inlet, Ord River or any other protected waters, in a vessel with an outboard motor, the only safety equipment you are required to have on board is a bailer or bilge pump. Incredibly, not even an anchor and even if you have a three year old in the boat, no lifejacket on board for them. I believe there are also other anomalies which deserve comment such as: only vessels with inboards require a fire extinguisher, marine radio only required beyond five nautical miles out to sea and no legal requirement for an EPIRB to be GPS enabled, which can reduce the satellite location from a 5 km radius down to 120 metres.
I know there will be some sceptics who believe the Government already has a predetermined position in regard to this review, but I remain forever an optimist and still believe in the power of the people. Better still, why not include the whole family in the safety equipment review and at the same time have a serious chat about how your own boat is set up? Follow the link below, submissions close Monday July 10. http://www.transport.wa.gov.au/imarine/safety-equipment-review.asp
To answer last week’s question, the easiest way to distinguish a blue threadfin from a king threadfin is that the blue threadfin has four pectoral filaments as opposed to five for the giant threadfin. This week’s question is, “What is the VHF marine radio frequency reserved for vessel to air communications in a search and rescue incident?”
Find us on seasoaringmarine