Before You Go Boating

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					Before You Go Boating
Before you head out on the water consider                                                                  1300 659 218 or checking the BOM website
these simple tips to assist in trouble free boating:                                              for information.
• Check that your boat is in good condition.                                                               The Bureau also offers a facsimile service (02)
• Check that you have all the required safety                                                              9296 1567 which provides all forecasts, weather
  equipment on board. Ensure all safety                                                                    observations, satellite cloud photographs
  equipment is in good condition and easily                                                                and synoptic weather charts. A number of
  accessible in the event of an emergency and                                                              organisations also broadcast this information
  everybody aboard knows its location.                                                                     on marine band radios (27 MHz,VHF and HF
• Report your trip. Let someone know where                                                                 bands) at regular intervals or on request. They
  you are going, how many people are on board                                                              include Sydney Ports and Marine Rescue NSW.
  and when you intend to return.                                                                           NSW Maritime provides forecasts on phone 13
• Make sure you and your crew know how to              Weather                                             12 36 or our website,,
  handle the boat, especially on the waterway          Before heading out in your boat, check the          which also includes information from a number
  that you’re using. If in doubt, get information      weather forecast. Once on the water, it             of coastal bar cameras.
  from locals or NSW Maritime.                         is important to monitor regular weather             See for details.
• Check the weather before you go out.                 reports, especially if changes are predicted. The
  Register for NSW Maritime’s new Maritime             movement of fronts is sometimes difficult to
  Alert system based on official weather data.         forecast and the predicted time of arrival may
• Make sure you have sufficient water and fuel         be revised. Warnings for strong winds (winds
  for the duration of the trip.                        averaging 25 to 33 knots), gale force winds
• Go easy on the drink – waves, wind and               (34 to 47 knots) and storm force (48 knots or
  weather multiply the effects of alcohol. One         more) are issued when necessary and updated
  third of all boating fatalities involve alcohol.     every six hours.
• If crossing a bar log on to view live web-           The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) broadcasts
  camera footage for a number of coastal bars          forecasts and warnings on HF radio bands, via
  in NSW at                   voice and fax. Warnings are available by phoning

 18                                                                                                              B O AT I N G H A N D B O O K   •   2 0 0 9 – 2 010
Know Your Boat

                                                                                                                                                                    Before You Go Boating
Basic boat handling                                       Steering                                            and/or stern of your boat. Run your ropes about
                                                          When steering a boat with a wheel, get to know      45 degrees from your boat, loop them back
Setting off                                               the feel of the wheel and the rudder position       onto the boat and tie securely, but not too
Start your engine, allowing it to warm up before          before you set off.                                 tightly. Be aware of the rise and fall of the tide.
you set off. Untie any mooring ropes from the             Using a tiller is simple, though different to a     Make sure you know how to use your ropes
jetty or wharf, leaving them tied to the boat,            wheel, providing you remember that pushing to       properly. Keep them coiled, free of knots and
coiled and ready for future use. Make sure all            the right will make the boat head left and vice     ready for use.
ropes are inside the boat and not trailing in the         versa. Be patient and plan ahead – the boat will
water where they can be caught in the propeller.          take a few seconds to respond.                      Mooring
Check that the area is clear of traffic before moving                                                         Slow down almost to a stop and carry out all
away, taking note of any speed limits or ‘no wash’        Tying up                                            your manoeuvres as slowly as possible. Move
signs that may be in the area. Be careful not to create   To keep your boat secure you need to tie up         your boat very slowly, pointing the bow towards
excessive wash when passing people fishing, passive       with rope to both the bow and stern. Many           the mooring buoy, then use reverse to stop the
craft or moored boats to avoid rocking them about.        mooring sites have bollards or rings to tie up to   boat just before the bow hits the buoy. Put the
Keep to the right side of the channel (see the            – choose ones a short distance beyond the bow       engine into neutral.
section on Navigation Marks and Signs for
more information).                                                                                            Anchoring
                                                                                                              When anchoring, lower the anchor to the
Slowing down and stopping                                                                                     bottom and let the vessel go astern until
Boats don’t have brakes, so give yourself plenty                                                              sufficient line is let out – this normally means
of time to stop. In a powerboat ease off the                                                                  three times as much line as the depth of water.
throttle and move into neutral, using short bursts                                                            If the weather deteriorates, increase the ratio to
in reverse gear to slow down and come to a final                                                              5:1 or more. Always anchor by the bow not the
halt. Remember, some craft are more difficult                                                                 stern, and never anchor in a channel or where
to handle when in reverse.You may need an                                                                     submarine cables are signposted.
occasional forward boost to gain better control.                                                              You should have a length of chain between the

B O AT I N G H A N D B O O K   •   2 0 0 9 – 2 010                                                                                                             19
anchor and the anchor line to cushion the vessel’s       Loading your boat                            Going aboard small vessels
motion and help the flukes to dig in.The chain also                                                   When moving onto or off small craft
stops the anchor line chafing on the bottom.             Overloading/stability                        remember:
The bigger the vessel, the more chain you require.       Overloading can contribute to the capsize    • Step aboard as near amidships as practicable,
In choosing your anchoring position, you should          or swamping of a vessel.                       crouch down and hold onto something.
take into account local tides, possible wind changes     Never load your boat with passengers or      • Never jump into a vessel or pause with one
and swing room required to keep your vessel              cargo beyond its safe carrying capacity.       foot aboard and the other foot ashore.
away from any other vessels or hazards nearby.           Too many people or too much gear can         • If you move about in the vessel, keep to the
These factors are particularly important at crowded      cause the boat to become unstable,             centreline and crouch down to lower your
anchorages, or if you plan to stay overnight or leave    resulting in capsize or swamping.              centre of gravity.
your vessel unattended for even a brief period. If the   Always balance the boat to maintain proper
water is fairly shallow, you may have to periodically    trim and use the vessel’s Safety Label or    Loading a boat
adjust the amount of line you have out to allow          Australian Builders Plate to determine the   Always stow heavy items as low as possible in
for changes in depth caused by tides.                    maximum number of persons you can safely     the boat. Make sure they are secure. Ensure
Avoid anchoring in sensitive habitats such as            carry in calm weather.                       loads are distributed evenly to maintain
seagrass. Areas of seagrass are usually visible                                                       appropriate freeboard and trim of your vessel.
as dark patches on the sea bed. Damage from
an individual anchor can potentially set off
progressive seagrass loss over a wide area.
Historic shipwrecks are also easily damaged by
anchors and anchoring in their vicinity should
not be attempted.
If you break down, you should attempt to
remain in the one location by anchoring, or
if conditions make this difficult, setting a sea
anchor or drogue.

 20                                                                                                         B O AT I N G H A N D B O O K   •   2 0 0 9 – 2 010
Kids and Boats
Preparing children for boating                      • Teach them the rules about keeping a good          A website has been developed to teach kids and
If you take your children boating, teach them        lookout, avoiding collisions and reducing wash.     their families about safe boating, for details visit
emergency procedures. It will improve their         • Children under the age of 18 must not be 

confidence and your peace of mind.                    aboard any vessel travelling at 60 knots or
                                                                                                          Remember: Slip, Slop, Slap ...
• Make sure that they have well fitting               more, unless approved under an Aquatic              use sun-protective clothing, sunscreen
  lifejackets. See if they can put them on in the     licence.                                            and hats.
  dark or while in the water. Small children
  including toddlers should be encouraged to
  wear an appropriate lifejacket at all times,
  especially when in open areas of a boat where
  it is possible to fall directly overboard.
• Teach them to swim and practise emergency
 positions like HELP and Huddle.
• Teach them to stay with a capsized boat or an
 easily seen floating object, making them easier
 to be seen by rescuers.
• Show them around the boat and where all
  emergency items are located. If they are old
  enough to understand, show them how to use
  equipment such as radios, EPIRBs and flares,
  stressing the importance of not using them
  unless real trouble exists and the penalties
  that exist for misuse.
• Teach them about stability and loading the
 boat, how to get in and out of dinghies and
 small boats.

 22                                                                                                             B O AT I N G H A N D B O O K   •   2 0 0 9 – 2 010
                                                                                                                                                                                                              Before You Go Boating
Keep in Touch                                                                     I’VE GONE BOATING
COMMuNICATE - TELL SOMEONE                                                         HERE ARE MY TRIP DETAILS FOR:                            (DATE)           /              /

• WHERE YOU ARE GOING                                                              I am departing at:                                        am/pm (please circle)

                                                                                   I am departing from:
                                                                                   My trip intentions are:

                                                                                   I will return no later than:                          am/pm (please circle)
Log in                                                                             Number of people on board (including me):
Use your marine radio to log in with a                                             Weather conditions expected:

coastal radio base before you leave. Tell them                                      Keep a whiteboard marker
                                                                                    handy to enter fresh trip details
where you are going, estimated time of return, vessel name and                      and ALWAYS inform a relative                                PLACE PICTURE
                                                                                    or friend of your boating plans                           OF YOUR BOAT HERE
                                                                                    by leaving this card with them.
how many people on board.You should also consider leaving your                      If you fail to return by the time
                                                                                                                                           - TO ASSIST POLICE WITH
                                                                                    specified they should:                                 VESSEL IDENTIFICATION IN
details with a responsible contact person. Report in if the trip is                                                                           EVENT OF A SEARCH
                                                                                    CALL 000
extended or altered in any way.                                                     IMMEDIATELY

Log off
Remember it is important to log off when you return.
                                                                                   Check the marine          Ensure you have          Ensure there is a     Fully charge your        If you’re heading
                                                                                  weather report and        sufficient fuel and      PFD 1/appropriate     boat’s batteries as well   offshore, carry a
                                                                                    ensure you and        reserve fuel. Plan for    life jacket onboard   as those for hand-held      distress beacon
                                                                                  your boat are suited   1/3 OUT, 1/3 BACK,            and wear them.       marine radios and              (EPIRB).
                                                                                   to the conditions.         1/3 RESERVE.                                    mobile phones.

                                                                                                                                   VALUABLE INFORMATION ON THE BACK
                                             There’s nothing like the security
                                             of dealing with a BIA Member

                                             Look for the BIA Member symbol

       Boating Industry Association                      A free and reusable report card is available from NSW
                                                                                              Maritime as a fridge magnet.

B O AT I N G H A N D B O O K     •    2 0 0 9 – 2 010                                                                                                                                                    23

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