Like many boaties, I myself have had those occasional days where I have under prepared or not prepared at all for a day out boating and something has always gone wrong! This week I am going to do a blog on preparing and safety as I have this week just picked up my new boat, a Stejcraft bow rider. Like many of you I have been boating for years and we use boats on a daily basis to deliver pontoons so I thought everyone might be able to get a little bit of value out of my steps to preparing and some of the safety equipment requirements.
1: Weather: Wind, Tide Times & Sunset
First thing I like to do is the morning of the big day is check the weather forecast, this needs to include the tide times, wind speed forecast and sunset times. Remember if you travel for example from the Seaway up past Tipplers and Jumpin Pin and the wind increases by 10 or 15 knots in most cases it will take you a lot longer to get home then it did to get there! Plus you will be burning more fuel, so are you prepared?. With technology today you can get live and up to date weather on your phone, so will you’re lazing about enjoying the day maybe just check the weather update just to be safe.
2: Safety Gear
By law every vessel in Queensland has to carry a minimum inshore safety pack (Smooth Waters) regardless of if the boat has positive or basic floatation and here is what you need. Download PDF here
1: Life jackets for every person onboard the vessel PFD’s type 1 or 2
2: Signalling mirror – commonly a small mirror or authorised signalling deveice to attract attention in the day time to air craft or other vessel.
3: V-Sheet, although this is not required for vessels in smooth water only most safety kits include it. The V-sheet is laid out on top of the water surface or the boat and is designed to attract attention of passing aircraft or other vessels.
5: Paddles or oars – Despite being a recommendation only these are generally included and are a good idea should your motor break down you can move out of a main channel or to shore when close by.
3: Is your boat ready
A couple of common break downs on the water come from lack of servicing on engines and the simple things people don’t think about, has your boat been sitting around all winter and not been serviced? A common issue is impellers becoming brittle and breaking apart, this pumps water from the leg of the motor into the engine to cool it down during operation. Along with flat batteries, seized steering cables and contaminated or stale fuel. So prior to your trip remember to start your engine making sure it is pumping plenty of water and checking the fuel filter bowl for signs of water or contamination.
4: Navigating the Waterways
Most boats these days have GPS units installed but for the ones that don’t I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of Beacon to Beacon, this has everything from Bridge heights to navigation beacon locations and guided paths. You can download sections of Beacon to Beacon here or buy a hard copy at most boating and tackle shops.
Well I hope these tips and tricks helped you in some way and we look forward to seeing you out on the water soon.