Any voyage should be preplanned. Check the boat and equipment. Plan your route. Know the weather forecasts, state of the tide and likely currents to be encountered. Determine a safe harbour passage, and estimate your fuel requirements. Do not overload your boat.
Basic knowledge. The left side of a vessel facing fwd. is the Port side or Red side.
The right side of a vessel facing fwd. is the Starboard side or Green side.
When entering port, keep Red beacons to Port. (Red to red).
When leaving port, keep Green beacons to Port.
Always pass an approaching vessel in a channel Red to Red.
Refer to the Queensland Transport Recreational Boating Safety Handbook for details of mandatory equipment to be carried. Safety leaflets are available at VMR base. Be familiar with the use of flares and the V sheet.
All small craft going offshore should be equiped with a VHF communications radio. It is the cheapest insurance. Ensure there are good connections on your radio power supply circuit. Excessive voltage drop across connections will adversely affect the transmit function. Also carry a mobile phone if possible on any boating excursion.
Always tell somebody where you are going and when you expect to return. Preferably go offshore with another vessel.
Log on with the local VMR group.
Be aware of shipping traffic in the main Gladstone channel. Check with Harbour Control on VHF Ch. 13 prior to night navigation in the harbour.
| Batteries. | It is imperative that marine batteries be diligently maintained. A battery over three years old, may be due for replacement, and should be load tested by a battery technician. Check electrolyte levels and terminals before going out. Check that the battery is secure.
Charge the battery at least once per week when not in use. Idle batteries deteriorate more quickly.
Check that the normal charging voltage is 13.8 - 14 V. Extended high charging voltage will ruin a battery in a short time.
Do not connect a good battery with a weaker battery.
If there is any doubt about a boat battery, it should be replaced, always with a marine grade type which has sturdier internal construction.
Keep your engine clean and free of corrosion on electrical components. Spray liberally with WD40.
Carry tools, a multimeter, fire extinguisher, and basic spares. It is prudent to carry a spare outboard propeller, and parts to fit it. Wiring insulation on older engines may deteriorate.
Check the operation of the engine coolant and bilge pumps (clean the strainers.) Have a spare impeller for Jabsco type pumps. Check navigation lights.
Be sure to have a first aid kit. Carry spare torch and GPS batteries.
Always carry sufficient fuel reserve. Allow at least 25% extra. Do not store fuel for long periods. Fitting of a coalescing type filter to the fuel supply of an outboard is strongly recommended. Be sure the fuel hose to an outboard is in good condition, is protected from damage and that hose clamps are tight. The smallest vacuum leak will impede fuel supply.
Adopt a preventive maintenance attitude to your boating. Don't wait till something breaks down.
Emergency Procedures. If assistance is required offshore, endeavour to give the rescuer an accurate position fix. By GPS position. By bearing.e.g. Cape Capricorn bearing 300° M. 10 miles.
By estimate. e.g. Departed Polmaise for Boyne 1500 hrs. Compass course 215°.
Conserve battery power for radio operation.
If disabled in heavy weather, rig some form of sea anchor to give directional stability.
Be aware that it may take up to two hours for organised assistance to arrive.Extend the aerial to its full height.
Turn on the switch.
Fully unroll the cord.
Tie the loose end of the cord to the vessel and throw the EPIRB into the water.
When the EPIRB is immersed, the water acts as a ground plate, greatly extending the signal range. An orbiting satellite will be in range approx. every 45 minutes.
To activate an EPIRB, the correct procedure is as follows :-
If the vessel is sinking, be ready to tie the EPIRB onto your lifejacket. Don't let it sink with the ship and don't turn it off. The battery will transmit for days. This is particularly important for people going out to the Douglas Shoals and beyond out over the Continental Shelf. Both are out of reliable radio range to call for help. If you go out that far, you should go out in company and stay together until all are safely back to the boat ramp.
Don't forget. Time is running out to change over to the 406 mHz EPIRB.
Observe sober habits when in charge of a vessel, and avoid polluting the
marine environment. Be aware of sewage disposal regulations.| Always maintain
a watch while under way. Hazards such as floating logs and other flotsam can
cause catastrophe, as well as the obvious dangers of navigating reef waters.
If there is any doubt, always pass to the stern of merchant ships. It is easy
to under estimate their speed.
Always endeavour to know where you are on the water. Identify your surroundings as possible position bearings.e.g. local landmarks like Mt. Larcom and Mt. Stanley, or at night, coastal lights.
Be conversant with | Rules of the Road |
| Collision Avoidance Procedures | man overboard procedures | wearing and location of lifejackets. Ensure your passengers are briefed on the use of lifesaving equipment, and what to do in an emergency. Ensure that lifejackets, flares, epirb are quickly accessable.
| Rules of the Road Demo |
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