FIVE confirmed boating fatalities since the beginning of the year have led to the state’s maritime safety regulator, Transport Safety Victoria (TSV), issuing a safety alert calling for every boater to plan and be better prepared before heading out on the water.
The most recent serious incidents at Kilcunda, Waratah Bay and Seaford occurred within a 24 hour period and have led to two fatalities, while a third man is missing.
Adrian Mnew, TSV acting director, Maritime Safety, has expressed concern over the spate of fatalities and has implored all boaters to have an effective safety plan before venturing out.
“Having a five point safety plan can very well mean the difference between life and death on the water.
“Critical to the plan is knowing what you want to do and where you want to go, preparing yourself in case things go wrong and equipping yourself with the know-how to handle potentially dangerous situations.
“Ensure you are maintaining awareness of all the hazards while you are out on the water.
“This includes monitoring the conditions, your location, weather alerts and other traffic.
“With boating, it is always a good idea to leave a big allowance for things to go wrong. This will enable you to make adjustments to your plan depending on the circumstances.
“Be aware of your boating limitations and that of your boat. You run the risk of running into real danger if you over estimate your own abilities or if the vessel is not suitable for the conditions. If in doubt, don’t go out.
“It’s also very important to know how to raise an alarm in the event of an emergency.
“Even if it’s not required, having an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) or a personal locator beacon can assist rescue authorities in locating you.
“Lastly, make sure that you carry the right safety equipment and that it is in good working order. Consider making it a habit to wear your lifejacket at all times – it’s one less thing you need to think about in an emergency and incidents can unfold very quickly,” Mr Mnew said.
For more information and to view the Safety Alert, visit the TSV website (www.transportsafety.vic.gov.au).
Fisherman still missing
WATER Police are still combing the area for any sign of a lone fisherman who went missing 10 days ago.
The 37 year-old man from Croydon Hills was last seen on the night of Saturday, January 18 when he set off in a 16-foot boat from Newhaven.
The boat washed up on rocks at Kilcunda the following morning, sparking an intense search by marine units.
Victoria Police spokesperson Jo Stafford said Water Police “will continue to monitor the area”.