Safety at sea

Queensland boaties warned to take safety precautions on the water.

Maritime Safety Queensland has appealed to boat users to take more safety precautions on the water following a series of fatalities and serious incidents across the state.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said a series of marine incidents in recent weeks had demonstrated how quickly conditions could change on the water.

"In the past four weeks, we have seen the heartbreaking disappearance of a family of five in a boating incident in Torres Strait and, more recently, the continuing search for two fishermen on a trip in Moreton Bay,” Mr Bailey said.

"Any death is one too many and tragically we have lost 11 Queenslanders this year on our waters.

"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 skippers should take every precaution when on the water.

"Simple but critical measures such as keeping a proper lookout, ensuring you have the correct safety equipment, staying under the .05 blood alcohol limit and checking the weather can literally save lives,” he said.

“Perhaps the most important message is to ensure there’s a lifejacket for everyone on board – all passengers should know where they are or be wearing them and know how to use them.

“It's just common sense to ensure everyone is wearing a properly-fitted lifejacket whenever there is a heightened risk such as poor weather, boating alone or at night, or operating in busy shipping lanes.”

Mr Bailey said communication was vital to ensuring swift rescue in the event of a marine incident.

“If you are going any distance offshore, check whether you are required to carry an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon (EPIRB) and make sure it’s properly registered with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority,” Mr Bailey said.

“And always let someone such as your local volunteer rescue group know when you’re leaving, your destination and when you’ll be back.

“But most importantly, if in doubt don’t go out - you’re the skipper, you’re responsible.”

Download the Maritime Safety Queensland boating checklist for safe boating before, during and after your trip.

Follow these tips before you hit the water

  • Check your boat is in good condition.
  • Check that you have all the required safety equipment on board and that it is easily accessible.
  • Let someone know where you are going, how many people are on board and when you intend to return.
  • Make sure you have the right marine licence.
  • Know how to use your marine radio and which channels to use.
  • Check the weather before you go out. 
  • Make sure you have enough water and fuel for the whole trip.
  • Know the rules of the sea-road and follow them.
  • Wear your lifejacket.