JIM Purcell has seen a lot of boating on Gladstone Harbour - the good and the bad.

As the Gladstone Volunteer Marine Rescue chief controller, Mr Purcell has for years kept a close eye on the safety of recreational boaters in the harbour.

People might think mixing 250m coal ships with recreational boats is a recipe for disaster, but Mr Purcell had a reassuring message.

"No, they don't need to be afraid (about big ships)," Mr Purcell said. "If you obey the rules and always keep a look out, you will be fine."

Mr Purcell said the safety procedures in place for major shipping in the Gladstone Harbour were exceptionally thorough.

He also pointed out the pilots guiding those ships are highly qualified and experienced.

He said he was more worried about the large number of vessels operating on major construction projects than the massive bulk carriers.

Mr Purcell said the effectiveness of procedures for safety around bulk carriers was so great, he could not recall any incident between a recreational boat and a commercial vessel on the harbour.

The rules for safety around bulk carriers are, according to Mr Purcell, largely a matter of common sense.

When using a recreational boat, always cross behind a bulk carrier rather than in front of it, keep a safe distance and always keep your eyes peeled.



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