Ship & Sail sales manager Michael Robinson says proper boat maintenance will help avoid unexpected incidents at sea and will also help keep you safe.
Ship & Sail sales manager Michael Robinson says proper boat maintenance will help avoid unexpected incidents at sea and will also help keep you safe.

ME AND MY BOAT: Preparation makes for perfect fishing

STAYING safe on the water is every boaties’ goal but sometimes the lure of heading out to land a big one can distract from proper preparation and maintenance.

Gladstone residents are no strangers when it comes to heading out and wetting a line and most of us do it in a safe and responsible manner.

However life does get in the way and not everyone has an opportunity to head out every weekend.

Often the family boat is left lying dormant for months and only rolled out once school holidays enter full swing.

It’s those boaties who Ship & Sail sales manager Michael Robinson says should be spending extra time on preparing their boat, motor and accessories before heading out.

“Check your trailer and wheel bearings, check your boat is in good structural condition and that everything on it works including radio and electronics as well.

“There’s also that important bit on the back – the outboard or it could be an inboard depending on the vessel – get it checked or serviced so you know when you go out there you are going to make it home.”

Mr Robinson said time can be the enemy for marine batteries and fuel.

“(Old fuel) is probably one of the biggest things we find in this game,” he said.

“Fuel these days doesn’t last very long compared to the old super where it could sit there for two years and not change.

“The new unleaded doesn’t last as long and it loses its kick.

“Sitting there is no good for anything.”

As far as servicing goes, Mr Robinson said boaties should be thinking about that sooner rather than later.

“We do servicing here and so does a couple of others in town, but it becomes the silly season,” he said.

“So to avoid disappointment and missing out I’d recommend booking it in for an annual service or give us a ring for a check over.”

Having the right safety equipment is also a must and Ship & Sail has three levels of safety kits in stock – smooth water, partially smooth and open water kits.

Each kit varies in its contents with the open water kit containing an EPIRB and flare kit – two open water essentials.

Marine safety kits are available to purchase from Ship & Sail, Gladstone.
Marine safety kits are available to purchase from Ship & Sail, Gladstone.

Mr Robinson said boaties were getting better at preparation, but compliancy was always an issue.

“MSQ (Maritime Safety Queensland) and VMR (Volunteer Marine Rescue) make people aware … it’s getting better but still very scary,” he said.

“You don’t want to head out and only get halfway.”

MSQ general safety tips

  • Check that your boat is in good condition.
  • Check that you have all the required safety equipment on board. Ensure all safety equipment is in good condition and easily accessible, in case of an emergency. Make sure everybody on board knows where the safety equipment is stored.
  • Report your trip. Let someone know where you are going, how many people are on board and when you intend to return.
  • Have the right marine licence. Make sure you and your crew know how to handle the boat for where you are going.
  • Know how to use your marine radio, which channels to use and when.
  • Check the weather before you go out.
  • Make sure you have enough water and fuel for the whole trip.
  • Go easy on the drink — waves, wind and weather multiply the effects of alcohol. Far too many boating fatalities involve alcohol.
  • Know the rules of the sea-road, and follow them.
  • Lifejacket – If it’s not on, it can’t save you.


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