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Slow down in busy areas and when near moored or anchored boats, and remember working boats and larger ships may have difficulty manoeuvring. The topmarks are in the shape of an egg, so remember the e of egg is for safe water to the EAST. The topmarks make the shape of a wine glass so remember the w of wine glass is for safe water to the WEST. Special marks can be used to mark a specific structure or feature such as a cable or pipeline, or to indicate that a channel divides.
Indicates there is an isolated danger with navigable water all around it a€“ for example, an isolated shoal, rock or wreck. A combination of increased shipping movements and record numbers of recreational boats throughout Queensland is creating more congestion in and adjacent to shipping channels, raising the potential for interaction between ships and smaller vessels. Recreational boats and commercial vessels operating and fishing in shipping channels place themselves in a high risk situation, particularly those who do not have or use a VHF radio to communicate with large ships and monitor local shipping movements. Large ships often travel at speeds in excess of 20 knots and fully laden cargo ships or tankers can have a stopping distance equal to 28 football fields (2.5 nautical miles).
A small boat within several hundred metres of a ship can be unseen from the helm of a ship, with the bow of the ship and sometimes cargo such as containers obscuring the view.
It only takes about 15 minutes from the time a ship is spotted on the horizon by a small boat to the potential time of impact. Global Positioning Systems (GPS) are commonly found on recreational boats, and while a good navigation aid, they should not be relied upon (like any other electronic equipment dependent on battery power). There have been a number of navigational incidents, where boats have run aground and into obstructions, attributed to people using GPS data alone. A GPS is not a substitute for sound watchkeeping and navigational practices and should be used only in conjunction with other aids to navigation.
A good way of maintaining safety information is through Notices to Mariners, which can be found on the Maritime Safety Queensland website.
Before using your new GPS, you are obligated to familiarise yourself with the strengths and weaknesses of the equipment.
Water skiing involves towing people behind a boat on skis, bare feet, inflatable toys, boards and parasailing. It is compulsory for all children under 12 years, in boats under 4.8 metres whilst underway, to wear an appropriately fitted life jacket at all times. A person must not operate a boat (including a PWC) towing a skier unless the skier is wearing a PFD type 2 or 3 and there is another person (an observer) on board. When skiing in lakes, rivers and creeks, boats should travel in an anticlockwise pattern (see right). Divers can surface at any time, sometimes a significant distance from where they enter the water. If the skipper is found operating with a blood alcohol limit of .05 or over, penalties will apply, including licence cancellation and a fine.
When on the water, your coordination, judgement, vision, balance and reaction time can decline up to three times faster when using alcohol. People aboard need to take care because studies have shown that boat passengers are just as likely as operators to be involved in incidents such as capsizing the vessel or falling overboard as a result of drinking alcohol. It is compulsory for all vessels over 15 metres to have insurance sufficient to pay for potential pollution clean up, salvage and wreck removal.
Vessel owners were given 12 months to obtain the necessary insurance before the requirement became compulsory on 17 May 2008. A marine incident must be reported to a Shipping Inspector within 48 hours of the incident, unless there is a reasonable excuse. Details about every incident are recorded and the information is used to inform future safety programs. All boats must travel at a safe speed where the driver can act to avoid a collision and can stop the boat in time to avoid any danger that arises suddenly.
Speeding causes major problems on Queensland waterways such as unsafe conditions, inconvenience to others, damage to infrastructure and erosion. Six (6) knots is the maximum speed limit and is equivalent to approx 11 kilometres per hour.
Queensland Water Police and Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol target speed and excessive wash to ensure compliance.
Regular preventative maintenance and servicing by a qualified mechanic may avoid a breakdown at sea. You should also advise a family member or friend of your intended trip with an indication of when to advise authorities if you are not back. The GSO requires all boat owners and operators to make sure the boat is safe, appropriately equipped and crewed and operated in a safe manner. Additional safety equipment recommended in the Standard should also be carried to satisfy the General Safety Obligation. Boats not requiring registration do not have to carry the regulated safety equipment, but need to satisfy their General Safety Obligation. Children under the age of 12 in open boats under 4.8 metres must now wear properly fitted life jackets while underway. A boat is underway when it is not at anchor, made fast to the shore or aground (underway includes drifting). In circumstances of heightened risk the chances of survival are greater in the event of an incident if a life jacket is being worn.
The regulation will only apply to those boats that are already required to carry life jackets as part of their safety equipment. For boat use in smooth waters only where the user is likely to be in the water only for a short time. Inflatable life jackets are now approved equipment and have reduced in price making them affordable and a good alternative to the standard PFD type 1. An inflatable life jacket would be a good alternative for children under 12 who must wear a life jacket when on boats under 4.8 metres in length, especially in summer. These jackets have more flotation than PFD type 1 and are recommended to be carried by boats operating long distances offshore. Inflatable personal flotation devices and life jackets that rely solely on oral inflation for buoyancy are not acceptable.


The RCD is legislation which requires that new boats meet standards in certain major areas such as construction and stability. Category D craft and category C up to 12m in length can be self-certified by the builder.
On the face of it, self-certification seems an easy option, but unless the boat builder has an in-house RCD expert, it is usually much more efficient to involve an RCD consultant who will compile a coherent Technical File and Owner’s Manual. Small Craft Consultancy can provide a cost-effective package to meet all your RCD compliance requirements.
The boat builder must ensure that your new boat will meet the requirements of the RCD and document it in a Technical File. An Owner’s Manual which should give details of your boat along with safety and operational advice. A Declaration of Conformity which states that your boat meets the requirements of the RCD. You should bear in mind that builders of category D boats can self-certify them for RCD compliance. If you are unsure about the validity of any of the above, please contact us for advice, or you could have problems when you come to sell the boat.
If you buy a shell or sailaway to fit out yourself, you become the builder under the terms of the RCD.
The whole RCD assessment must be a continuous process from the construction of the shell right through to the fitting of the CE plate.
The basis for your boat’s Technical File will be the Annex IIIa Declaration which the builder should give you when you take delivery of your shell or sailaway.
Small Craft Consultancy can take care of all RCD documentation and will provide full technical back-up combined with inspections during the fit-out.
A boat built by and individual for his own use which is not put on the market for five years after the date of completion, does not need to be CE marked. In the event of unexpected circumstances, you will not be able to transfer ownership of the vessel. A non-CE marked vessel may be perceived as having a lower market value than an equivalent CE marked one. It would be advisable to obtain a Directive Exemption Certificate which explains why the vessel is not CE marked.
As a general rule, boats built in the EU before June 16th 1998 do not need to be CE marked.
A BSS examination can be carried out up to two months before the existing certificate or RCD Declaration of Conformity expires ( the Declaration is valid for four years after the boat is built).
The two month period allows any work to be carried out if the certificate cannot be issued at the first visit. It is the boat owner’s responsibility to ensure that the vessel remains compliant with the standards during the four year period for which the certificate or Declaration of Conformity is valid. All areas which need to be checked must be accessible for inspection otherwise the examination may not be completed and it will not be possible to issue a certificate.
All joints in the LPG system must be accessible for inspection during the examination, so any access panels should be removed beforehand. The existing certificate should be to hand at the examination so information can be transferred to the next certificate.
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When travelling in narrower channels, such as entering a port, a ship can have as little as 600mm under-keel clearance, and can neither turn nor slow-down. This a€?blind spota€™ can sometimes extend for several nautical miles, and smaller boats rarely appear on ship radar. Relying on a mobile phone for communications can be disastrous a€“ the shipa€™s captain or pilot wona€™t know your number, and you dona€™t know theirs!
Some positions given by GPS will need to be adjusted due to differing datum (see cautionary advice on charts). If the zoom recommended exceeds the accuracy scale limit then a warning message is displayed on the screen.
GPS units require time to initialise, and the master needs time to assess the accuracy of the position information prior to starting the voyage.
As a starting point, it is recommended that that GPS users undertake navigation and GPS courses currently offered by both Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) and the Australian Coast Guard.
All kinds of boats are used for water skiing, mainly dinghies, skiboats and Personal Watercraft (PWC).
However, it is the responsibility of the driver to ensure the area is safe and suitable for skiing. The operator of the PWC must ensure there is an observer on board, and that there is sufficient seating capacity for both the operator and the observer. The skipper is also responsible for the safety of passengers and should be responsible for their alcohol consumption. Waves, motion, vibration, engine noise, weather, wind and spray a€“ can multiply the effects of alcohol. In Australia and New Zealand, alcohol has been a factor in one third of all boating fatalities. It is recommended that these ships check their existing insurance coverage to determine whether it complies with the requirement. The information gathered assists in the development of infrastructure and education programs and on water compliance programs which benefit all waterways users.
There have been many casualties resulting from boats travelling at excessive speed, especially in narrow waterways.
There are many times when the skipper should reduce the boata€™s speed even further to be safe. Therefore it is essential as a boat owner or skipper to maintain a speed that creates minimal wash. Some of the causes for engine failure are minor, so you should be able to troubleshoot a problem. You will be asked to advise the vessel name, registration details, number of persons on board (POB), your destination, and your estimated time of return.


Failure to advise these details has contributed to a number of deaths in Queensland in recent years. This allows boat owners and operators to choose the equipment best suited for the type of boat and intended voyage.
When deciding what to take on board, remember your obligation a€“ if you fail to carry a piece of equipment that could have helped to prevent an accident, you could be prosecuted. Experience has shown that even if there are life jackets nearby, there is often not enough time to put them on when faced with a life threatening situation. The advantage of an inflatable life jacket is that it can be worn while on board with a degree of comfort and minimal restrictions, encouraging all on board to wear a jacket as a safety precaution.
Regulation sets Coastal and SOLAS specifications as the minimum requirements for life jackets on commercial vessels.
It also requires that important systems such as for fuel, LPG and electrics are installed to an appropriate standard. Inland waterways craft will generally be assessed for category D compliance while sea-going craft would be assessed under category A or B. Certification of category A and B craft and category C craft over 12m in length require the involvement of a Notified Body. If the builder is producing a series of similar craft, once the Technical File has been written, he will be able to produce his own Declarations of Conformity and Owner’s Manual. This means that there is no requirement for a surveyor or Boat Safety Scheme examiner to inspect the boat before you take delivery of it.
It is your responsibility to complete the boat so that it complies with the RCD standards and to enable it to be CE marked.
In practice, this means as soon as the shell is delivered, an RCD surveyor should be ready to compile the necessary documentation as the fit-out progresses.
To be able to sell it legally, post-construction CE marking would be necessary which may involve a Notified Body.
A CE marked boat will only require a certificate after 4 years from the date of CE marking.
The documentation as described above belongs with the boat and should be handed over to the new owner. Batteries should be adequately charged and there must be sufficient gas and water on board. Any supporting documentation which demonstrates the suitability of fuel hoses, for example, should also be to hand.
In addition to the fee there will be a fixed charge of £40 which covers the cost of the certificate and administration charges. At night the light is yellow and the rhythm may be any other than those used for the white lights of a cardinal, isolated danger and safe water marks.
The best way to remember this is to associate two flashes with two spheres as the topmarks. Remember that the effects of alcohol are exasperated while on the water due to the sun, wind, and constant motion. In most cases, no further action is required, however, serious incidents will require a more thorough investigation. In addition, reporting a marine incident may assist you if you decide to make insurance claims for any damages. It is the responsibility of the driver to slow the vessel so that any wash created is minimal. Wash can create serious safety hazards for other boats, especially in marinas and anchorages where there is an expectation of calm conditions.
Other useful information you could provide includes a description of your vessel and radio channels you intend to monitor.
Forecasts should be obtained when planning a trip, before you leave and updated while you are out on the water. Emergency or high risk situations can happen very quickly on the water, even if conditions look calm. Inflatable PFDs must also show a legible expiry date and be serviced by the manufacturer or authorised service centre annually. The Notified Body will vet the RCD documentation and inspect the vessel to ensure that they tie up. However, most builders prefer the reassurance of having each boat checked by the RCD consultant. You may be relying entirely on the skill and integrity of the builder to provide you with a safe and serviceable boat. The requirements for CE marking an amateur built boat are the same as those which apply to a professionally built boat.
If this is not possible, any gear stored in the engine area should be removed to allow rapid access. If a certificate is not issued on the first inspection there will be a further fee to pay for future inspections. Reflexes and response times to emergencies are slowed and swimming ability deteriorates considerably. A current certificate of insurance must be carried onboard and be available for inspection by compliance officers. For example, 30m is ten times longer than a three metre boat and five times longer than a six metre boat. Maritime Safety Queenslanda€™s Weather Service provides weather information from the Bureau of Meteorology at the cost of a local phone call. Once in the water it is extremely difficult and in some instances impossible to put your life jacket on.




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