OVER the last couple of weeks there has been a very noticeable police presence on the water and several customers have been a little confused with some of the things that they are being told when checked.
We have also had a lot of phone calls about how and where you can fish in regard to the coronavirus. Our answer will always be the same, because the situation seems to change often and can be a little confusing you are best to call the government hotline and get the information directly from them.
To clear up some of the questions we have been asked we sent off an email to Marine Safety for clarification. Here is their response
Hi there Craig,
Thanks for reaching out, always good to clarify these questions cause sometimes misinformation spreads rapidly amongst the boating community. Here is an answer to each of your questions:
Q. Vessels traveling more than two nautical miles offshore will be required to have 150 lifejackets.
A. Rec vessels are required to carry/wear Level 100+ lifejackets when operating in enclosed and coastal waters. The 2NM mark doesn’t change this requirement, so level 100+ (the old PFD type 1) is all that is required.
Q. Vessels are required to show navigation, red and green as well as an anchor light while travelling at night.
A. When underway, a powered vessel must display a port, starboard and an all-round white light. The confusion here is that people call the all-round white light an anchor light, this is true when at anchor at it remains on with the side lights off, but underway red, green and all-round white must be displayed. This is because if the white light is off, you are invisible to vessels who are behind you.
Q. Vessels are no longer permitted to have deck or forward spot/flood lights and they must be removed.
A. The use of additional lights cannot impact the safety of another vessel, displaying bright floodlights when other vessels are nearby is not permitted as it can dazzle them plus can distort how they see your nav lights. If fitted, they can only be used with no other vessels around so as to not impact anyone’s safe navigation.
Q. You are required to wear a life jacket while travelling at night in a vessel under 12m regardless of how many people are in the boat.
A. Operating at night falls under heightened risk, so if people are in an open area of a vessel under 12m at night then everyone must have a suitable lifejacket on.
Q. When are flares actually out of date and is it also against the law to carry old flares.
A. Expiry date of flares is at the end of the listed month. The Marine Safety Regulations require that you carry an in date set of flares. Once expired then WorkSafe’s legislation says there is no permitted reason to have expired flares in your possession and they must be disposed of appropriately (at a police station).
Extra information from Marine safety
Maritime Safety Victoria is encouraging boaters to check out Boating Vic prior to heading out for a day on the water and throughout their trip.
Boating Vic provides ramp-specific weather information directly from the Bureau of Meteorology, including temperature, wind, sea conditions, tides and sunrise/sunset timings, plus weather warnings and notifications as conditions change.
With over 400 boat launching facilities, Boating Vic hosts the largest list of Victorian ramps and includes key information such as ramp condition, access and surface type. Some popular locations including Corinella, Rye and Stony Point also feature ramp cameras which update every five minutes, giving users an idea of how busy the boat ramp is at any given time.
Aside from ramp and weather information, the Knowledge Hub provides Boating Vic visitors with a range of educational content. From safety advice, to how-to guides and even tips for buying second-hand boats, all information comes directly from the team at Maritime Safety Victoria, as well as Better Boating Victoria, Victorian Fisheries Authority, Parks Victoria, Victoria Police, Victorian Ports and Emergency Management Victoria.
Head to the Boating Vic website at boating.vic.gov.au, or download the Boating Vic app from your preferred app store.
Boating Education Team Maritime Safety Victoria
One other question I forgot to ask was in regard to fire extinguishers, with many picked up on having the wrong size, the information can be easily found on the boating Vic web site and the size of your extinguisher will depend on your fuel tank size.
Fishing reports this week are very easily summed up by reminding you what time of the year it is, springtime. The reports were all over the place in the brief weather windows that we had during the week. Thursday was about the best of the days and still with limited people fishing, the reports we had were very promising for when the weather and the restrictions improve. We are getting a lot of comments about how quiet it is on the water with many hoping that the restrictions continue, and the waterways stay quiet. In reality, if this was to happen locals would be driving much further in the future because local businesses won’t survive if we don’t get that influx of visitors. With so few fishing it also makes it far more difficult to get any idea where the fish are and generally the more fishing the easier to get patterns.
The reports this week were all quality, snapper to 6kg from as far up as the fingers then down across the shallow corals and into the deep and onto the shallows of the mud. Very confusing especially when we had several reports of very small pinkies as well. The bite times were very short as well with everything reported caught in the last half hour of the tide.
Thursday produced a couple of reports from our whiting customers of quality size fish and plenty of them. Most said they left them biting once they found where they were hiding, and the quality is much better than what has been caught over the last few weeks. The best reports came from two areas, Tortoise Head and the area between Reef Island and Dickies Bay.
We had reports from offshore of some very good flathead, averaging around 40cm but up to almost 60cm and good bags of them also. Plenty of salmon schools offshore if you want to do a bit of bait collecting with some up to 2kg. No one has been too far offshore because of the weather so not a lot in gummy or snapper reports but once the weather improves, we will see people heading further down the coast. Calamari are still very frustrating and more difficult than any other species to work out, we had some reports and the best was from the beach in Cleeland Bight.