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

People might think mixing 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.

Hear more from Mr Purcell in this video.

See today's Observer for news about an Australian Transport Safety Bureau investigation into the grounding of a coal ship in Gladstone Harbour last year. 



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