A SPATE of marine incidents in recent weeks had demonstrated how quickly conditions could change on the water, according to Transport Minister Mark Bailey, in an appeal to boat users to take more safety precautions.
Mr Bailey said that in four weeks, a family had disappeared in Torres Strait and two fishermen in Moreton Bay. He said 11 Queenslanders had been lost this year on the water.
"In the same period, there have been eight major incidents, including serious collisions on Moreton Bay and Manly Harbour, a close call for 11 passengers in a boat fire off the Gold Coast, and, just last week, a boat-grounding with three people on board off eastern Cape York," Mr Bailey said.
The incidents were not necessarily linked with failed safety procedures but skippers could not ignore their safety obligations.
"Simple but critical measures such as keeping a proper lookout, ensuring you have the correct safety equipment, staying under .05 and checking the weather can literally save lives," Mr Bailey said.
"Be prepared for sudden unexpected weather changes and at the first sign of deteriorating weather make sure everyone on board is wearing a lifejacket if they haven't already got one on.
"But most importantly, if in doubt - don't go out."
Redland Bay Water Police's Senior Constable Justin Dunn said boaties should be mindful of tides and bad weather blowing up before venturing out. He said skippers must ensure safety equipment was adequate and inflatable lifejackets serviced every 12 months.
Redland Bay Coast Guard flotilla commander Jason Boon said skippers of boats and jetskis should plan trips and have a suitable anchorage before venturing out.
Another pointer was to estimate travel time to calculate fuel, water and food needed, while allowing some reserve
"Check the boat for petrol or LPG odours, fix any faults, inspect the bilge, check the engine and make sure batteries are fully charged," Mr Boon said. "Check the toolkit, spares, trailer, tie downs and lights."
Boaties should tell someone where they were going and when they planned to return. "This might be your local Coast Guard unit, which is a free service," he said. "Have a marine radio on board and know how to use it."
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