Boating can be one of the most enjoyable and versatile recreational and sporting activities, offering wide-ranging options and pleasure for all ages and many different people. But as we are constantly reminding our boat loan customers, the water presents inherent risks and boating safety is paramount. Highlighting that messaging, authorities in two separate states, Queensland and Victoria, have recently issued urgent safety reminders to boat owners that we consider worth sharing.
Update EPIRB Details
Police in Queensland has issued a very firm reminder to boat owners that they need to register and update the details of their EPIRB emergency beacons. This statement came after authorities were alerted to a signal from an unregistered EPIRB around the Cooktown region. It led to emergency services undertaking a search and rescue operation for a boat, its owner and his cat, which had engine failure and had drifted onto the rocks during a Cooktown-Cairns boat journey.
As the EPIRB was unregistered, the Police said the boat owner was fortunate that rescuers were able to locate the source of the EPIRB signal and rescue both him and his cat from the rocks.
Boat owners are reminded to check all safety equipment regularly and marine authorities and water police in all states regularly conduct checks. Fines can be issued by authorities if the equipment is not compliant. More information.
In regard to EPIRBs, boat owners need to have their beacons registered, not expired and update the ownership with the sale of a vessel. This is essential in ensuring rescue services can find vessels in emergency situations.
The Australian Marine Safety Authority (AMSA) is the body that manages EPIRB registrations. When selling or buying a boat, the rego details need to be updated with AMSA. When embarking on an offshore journey, boat owners can register the details of the voyage with AMSA. This can be done via the AMSA website https://www.amsa.gov.au/
An additional safeguard is that the website can provide boat skippers with MMSI (Maritime Mobile Service Identity) numbers. These broadcast a signal by pressing a digital selective calling button on a VHF radio to advise authorities of the location of the boat in distress. View application here.
New EPIRB requirements were introduced by AMSA in January 2021 which relate to some categories of vessels. It can be worth checking the website for updates on these and other important safety requirements.
Importance of Beacons
The importance of all boats operated by a solo skipper carrying safety beacons was mentioned by the Victorian coroner. The call was made as the coroner sadly was carrying out the inquiry into the death of a dinghy sailor who went missing while sailing alone on Victoria’s Port Phillip Bay in 2019.
The sailor became separated from his Laser sailboat and two days passed before he was found. While wearing a suitable life jacket, with no mobile phone or beacon, the sailor was unable to alert authorities that he required rescuing and sadly drowned.
Coldwater, such as is prevalent in the area, is a particular risk, it was noted by the coroner, and an EPIRB or PLB could be activated in the case of an emergency.
While regulations only require EPIRBs on sailboats if more than 2 nautical miles offshore, the coroner urged authorities to make them compulsory for all solo boaters. Other inquiries have urged for the mandating of beacons on all vessels on all waterways.
If the authorities are thinking this way, then boat owners should surely heed the warning and act by checking their EPIRB details are up to date and/or investing in their own safety with the appropriate beacons for their boat. Register and update your beacon here.
Safely Equipping Your New Boat
When arranging your boat loan through Jade Boat Loans, we suggest that buyers consider including a range of safety equipment and other important gear with the boat purchase. Your Jade consultant can include many additional items into the overall boat loan when they are purchased at the same time and possibly from the same dealer as you are buying your boat.
If purchasing your boat from a boat dealer, they very often stock a wide range of safety equipment, beacons and other gear. Consider life jackets and ensure they are compliant with the waterways you will be using. State maritime authorities detail exactly what jackets are required on their websites.
PLBs and EPIRBs can also be included in the boat loan but make sure you register the beacons when you register your boat. If your contact details change over the boat ownership period and/or the period of your boat loan, you will need to update a number of organisations:
- Boat registration with your state authorities
- EPIRBs and PLBs with AMSA
- Contact details with your boat loan lender
- Contact details with your boat insurer
Our Jade Boat Loan consultants are specialists in marine lending and are across many aspects of boat ownership beyond simply arranging your boat finance. Engaging our services can assist you to secure a cheap boat loan and realise the benefits of our professional marine expertise.
Contact 1300 000 003 to discuss including safety beacons and other equipment in your boat loan
DISCLAIMER: THE INFORMATION AND SPECIFIC DETAILS CONTAINED IN THE CONTENT OF THIS ARTICLE HAVE BEEN PREPARED AND ARE PRESENTED PURELY AS GENERAL INFORMATION AND NOT INTENDED AS THE ONLY SOURCE OF FINANCIAL ADVICE FOR BOAT BUYERS AND LOAN BORROWERS. FOR THOSE THAT CONSIDER THEY REQUIRE SPECIFIC ADVICE, THEY SHOULD CONSULT WITH A FINANCIAL ADVISOR. LIABILITY IS NOT ACCEPTED IN REGARD TO ERRORS AND MISPRESENTED DATA AND DETAILS HEREIN.