Witnessing an ever increasing number of visitors to our beautiful waterways with boats, jetskis, kayaks and of course on foot – it has also become evident that some people are not fully prepared for the conditions the Sunshine Coast dishes up on the weather platter each weekend! In any one day we can be served an early morning snack of mild wind, little swell and a gorgeous sunrise with not a cloud in the ski....then in less than a few hours we can get a main course of lunchtime gale force southerlies and swell that surfers can gorge themselves on. Afternoon tea could be a freak thunderstorm topped with lashings of hale and supper will likely be a beautiful sunset, rainbow and light sea-breeze making a mockery of your stories of killer wind from earlier in the day. Yes – are you prepared for Queensland’s Spring/Summer weather?
To better prepare for the upcoming summer weather conditions, I have made a list of things I do to maximise safety when boating and fishing, which in turn gives me greater piece of mind so I may enjoy the experience more!
1. BE WEATHER-WISE
Most importantly - check local weather conditions for boating safety the day before and on the morning or afternoon you head out. Poor weather can ruin a beach, river or reef trip, so it is often better to reschedule than push on and brave it. Keep in mind that wind can also change at an instant so keep an awareness of strength and direction when out also. A sudden drop in temperature and darkening sky is a telltale sign that a storm is on the way.
2. FOLLOW A PRE-DEPARTURE CHECKLIST
Be prepared for any possibility on the water such as freak storm, running out of fuel, collision or even getting lost! I ask myself the following questions prior to departure:
Some of the following safety equipment is required by law - you should check the laws with your local
3. DESIGNATE A BACKUP DRIVER
Make sure more than one person on board is familiar with all aspects of your boat’s handling and safe operation. If the primary driver is injured or incapacitated in any way, it’s important to make sure someone else can follow the proper boating safety rules to get everyone else back to shore.
4. USE OF LIFEJACKETS APPROPRIATELY
The number of boaties and jet skiers who get booked each holiday season for having lifejackets onboard but forget to actually wear them is pretty high. Make sure you have a lifejacket to suit the type of water you are boating on. You need a PFD type 1. The flotation collar is bigger on this jacket and keeps the head above water. This is for use in smooth, partially smooth and open waters. Suitable for offshore boating. PFD type 2 keeps you afloat but does not have a collar to keep the head above water making it only suitable in rivers and dams - smooth and partially smooth waters. It is compulsory to wear a life jacket in Queensland when crossing a coastal bar in an open boat that is less than 4.8 m in length and if you are under the age of 12 in an open boat, while it is under way.
5. SOBER BOATING
According to the Maritime Safety, one third of all boating fatalities involve alcohol. The blood alcohol limit on the water is the same as on the roads, meaning the driver must have a blood alcohol limit of less than 0.05, the same rules as on the road. The effects of alcohol are enhanced while on the water due to the sun, wind, waves and constant motion. Reflexes and response times to emergencies are slowed and swimming ability deteriorates considerably. Keep in mind if you are anchored or moored and aboard the craft consuming alcohol, the blood alcohol limit applies.
6. CHILDREN'S SAFETY
Children are not aware of rules, regulations and commonsense while on the water. So it is up to their parents and guardians to have an awareness of where they are and what they are doing while on the bank, in the boat or if swimming in the water surrounding the boat. All children under 12 years must wear a lifejacket if travelling in an open boat, so hire or buy a good Lifejacket or life vest with a collar that turns a child face up in the water. It must have strong waist and crotch straps, a handle on the collar, and preferably be a bright yellow or orange colour for good visibility.
Attach a plastic safety whistle to the Lifejacket and teach the child how to use the whistle - and practice using it. Additionally, ensure that children thoroughly understand safety procedures and can respond appropriately in an emergency. Practice safety drills and situation role-plays so that emergency procedures become second nature to you and your children.
Children must also be kept within the bounds of the vessel and should never sit with their legs or arms dangling over the sides of a boat that is underway. People have allowed children to hand off the side of their boat, ride on a donut or inflatable ring behind the boat or hang off the transom while in slow forwards motion. Children can be very unpredictable and this does not change simply if you have instructed them to stay away from the propeller. So be very conscious of children near the propeller not only for the deadly chances of getting run over but also as they can be exposed to carbon monoxide poisoning via exhaust fumes.
LOCAL FISHING REPORT
Noosa: Snapper, parrot and trag jew on Chardons and pearl perch, maori cod, hussar and moses perch on Sunshine Reef. Tailor in the deep gutters in front of Teewah, whiting and dart north of Teewah during the day. In the river, flathead throughout the lower reaches, whiting and bream between the river mouth and Munna Point.
Maroochy: Snapper, pearlies and moses perch at Barwon Banks, Coolum Reef and around Mudjimba Island. Dart, whiting and tarwhine to 1.2kg along the North Shore and Marcoola Beach. Bream to 900g in the South Channel and Cod Hole. Good whiting on live worms and popper lures on the northern side of Chambers Island and along the Black Banks. Flathead on soft plastics between in teh middle and upper reaches.
Kawana: Snapper and sweetlip on Caloundra 5 Mile, Murphys and Currimundi Reefs. Bream, tarwhine and chopper tailor along the beaches. Bream and trevally in the lower reaches of the Mooloolah River. A few mangrove jack, trevally and bream in the Kawana Canals.
Caloundra: Tailor on the Bulcock Beach side of the Bar, bream in the middle reaches of Pumicestone Passage. Flathead in the channels leading to the Bar. A few good whiting opposite the Power Boat Club.
David Jurgs from Toowoomba was thrilled with this 5kg jew caught at North Reef while on Noosa Blue Water Charters. (ww.fishingnoosa.com.au)
Scott took to the water aboard Charter boat Trekka to bring home this Maori Cod at North Reef.
Terry Gavin fished the Maroochy North Shore for and was rewarded with this 73cm flathead.