The Department of Transport has been busy promoting boating safety throughout WA for a number of years now and it was great to hear they were ‘on board’ with a Marine Safety education trailer at the Augusta River Festival last weekend. One of the boat safety initiatives that commenced last year, in conjunction with the Royal Life Saving Society of WA, was the Old4New Lifejackets Upgrade Program. If you have a close look at your lifejackets and find the straps deteriorated, mould or just generally in poor condition, then imagine if the situation arises when you actually have to wear this to save your life or that of a friend or family member. Hopefully some local skippers took advantage of this upgrade program last weekend. Quite simply, you hand in your old PFD ( max 3 per person ) and receive a $15 voucher discount for an upgraded slimline inflatable lifejacket. Sea Soaring Marine is a registered retail agent for these vouchers and as a special deal, anyone presenting the voucher will receive a further discount to the total of $20.
Also significant for boating safety, as this edition goes to print on Wednesday, March 8, the Department of Transport is coordinating the construction of long awaited ‘lead markers’ in Gracetown. I recall writing an initial application for this project back in 2005. With the support of David Nicholson from the Shire and Mark Beale from DofT, this much needed safety initiative is now being ‘set in concrete’, excuse the pun. No more need to be squinting the eyes, trying to make out those old white painted pallets, in amongst the bush, with a glaring afternoon sun and salt spray on the windscreen. These leads will act as daytime navigation aids only, with no lighting. For those unfamiliar with the system, they consist of two large orange triangles and when negotiating the channel, the skipper is aiming to line up the rear lead directly above the front lead. Skippers who are either unfamiliar with the area of attempt to short cut the channel can be given a scare if a set breaks on centre reef and unfortunately a few boats have been capsized over the years here.
Finally, I met a lady at the Gracetown boat ramp last week who mentioned that Lake Duymbleyung was in full flood for the first time in many years. Locals and tourists were making the most of the boating opportunities and she asked if I would be interested in running some skipper’s courses out there. I am always keen to see another part of the country, especially after all the rain in the wheatbelt and besides have always been fascinated by the fact that this salt lake was where Donald Campbell broke the world water speed record back in 1964 ( pictured ). The date was actually December 31, so you can bet they had a decent New Year’s Eve party! After making contact with the community resource centres in the area, word soon spread and now the Wagin boaties want some courses in their town too. So Sea Soaring Marine is heading into wheatbelt country, complete with truck, camper and boat for ten days in what will be a good shakedown of all the travelling gear, as we will be heading off for our annual northern sojourn very soon after.
To answer to last week’s question, an ‘Ultraskiff’ is regarded as the world’s first lightweight, portable, round boat. Google it! This week’s question is, “What speed did Donald Campbell reach to achieve his world water speed record?”
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