Safety equipment requirements for boaties

Life jackets are standard safety gear.

Safety equipment requirements for boaties

MARINE safety is of the utmost importance and is heavily legislated in Queensland.

Posted on 14.01.2019

The Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol folk and Queensland Water Police conduct regular inspections of vessels looking for all of the required safety gear.

Unless everything obligatory is on the vessel (and current), heavy fines can be given to the skipper.

For starters, vessels that need to be registered must have a Personal Flotation Device (PFD) for every person on board.

To further complicate matters, the PFDs must be suitable for everyone on board in terms of rating and size, not to mention serviceability. A PFD with broken straps won’t be of much use if the occupants end up in the water.

Boats operating in open waters must carry Level 100 PFDs, but vessels operating in partially smooth waters can have either Level 100 or Level 50 PFDs.

Children aged one to 12 must wear a PFD in boats under 4.8m in length, and all occupants must wear a PFD when crossing a coastal bar in boats under 4.8m in length. Unusually, it is optional to put a PFD on babies under one year.

PFDs in storage – under a seat, perhaps – need their location clearly indicated with a sign or sticker so they can be located quickly.

A signalling device must be carried on all vessels operating between sunset and sunrise (a torch would suffice). In addition, registerable vessels must have both navigation lights and an all-round white light when operating between sunset and sunrise.

Besides avoiding a fine, it is clearly a common-sense factor to remain visible during hours of darkness. No-one wants to be run over by another boat.

Vessels operating offshore or in partially smooth waters and beyond must carry additional safety equipment. Flares are a must and are for attracting attention when in strife.

Flare kits contain two red-hand flares and two orange-hand flares.

Flares have an expiry date with their life span typically being three years. Having out-of-date flares on your boat is an offence.

Vessels operating more than two nautical miles from land must also carry an Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon, colloquially known as an EPIRB. These units need to be registered with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is a relatively straightforward on-line process.

This registration needs to be renewed every two years.

These days, top-of-the- range EPIRBs have a lifespan of 20 years and a battery replacement requirement 10 years after purchase date.

Some units also have Global Position System technology with world-wide coverage built in which really is a must-have safety accessory. These units will transmit your location every five minutes, ensuring the absolute maximum chance of being rescued.

Another mandatory safety requirement for registerable vessels operating in partially smooth waters is to have a V Sheet on board.

This is an orange sheet of plastic or similar material with a large “V” in the centre and it is to be displayed in emergency situations as an indication of distress or impending doom.

Hopefully, a nearby vessel or overhead aircraft will see the V Sheet and alert authorities as well as render assistance if possible.

Other safety equipment that is recommended are items such as a bailing bucket, paddles, water, anchor with appropriate chain and rope.

Sunshine Coast Daily
August 2017

See also: All at Sea for more useful boating information



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