Home' Afloat : AFLOAT April 2018 Contents Take monthly with water April 2018 33
Roads and Maritime Services is extending
its collection program to help the boating
public to dispose of expired marine flares,
with mobile collections set up along the NSW
coastline and several inland locations from
Easter to early May.
Most flares have a use-by date of three years
and they must be replaced before the expiry
date. Expired flares are more likely to fail in an
emergency or ignite unintentionally. Keeping
them around also increases the risk of miss-
use in a non-emergency situation.
For more detailed information on disposing of
flares, including the collection locations, call
13 12 36 or visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au/flares
As this issue hits the shelves, the Easter weekend
will signal the ‘last hoorah’ for many boaters
before winter sets in and we see the end of the
peak boating season. However, April arguably
pulls off some of the best boating weather of
the year, often gracing us with warm weather
and light winds - and the dreaded UV from the
sun has even lost some of its sting!
The Easter long weekend is a popular time for
tow sport enthusiast to hit the lakes and rivers.
While many may feel confident and assured
as they navigate their way around other boats
and potential hazards, this is not a time to
be complacent. Traffic on the water can be
surprisingly heavy over Easter, especially if we
get some of those ‘perfect’ autumn days!
When towing – whether water skiing,
wakeboarding or simply towing a tube – stay
safe by following the important tips below:
• Always have an observer to keep an eye on
the person being towed while the skipper
(driver) keeps a proper lookout ahead of
and around the vessel.
• The skipper and observer must work
together to avoid hitting other boats, people
in the water and shoreline hazards, as well
as making sure that the people being towed
• Always keep a proper lookout and watch
your speed. The faster you go, the less time
you have to avoid any sudden hazards in
your path - including people, floating logs
or other boats. If the waterway is congested
or narrow, slow down!
• Consider the abilities of the people being
towed – if they look uncomfortable, it may
be unsafe. Learn the hand signals for tow
activities and respond to them immediately
because people at the end of the tow rope
depend on you!
• When making turns at speed, be aware of
the ‘whip effect’. This can cause the people
being towed to be flung out sidewards at
high speed, which often results in a loss
of control and may end in a collision with
shoreline hazards such as rocks or trees.
• If the people you are towing are experienced
enough to manage ‘being whipped’ make
sure there is enough room and the water
is smooth and free of hazards. If in any
doubt, don’t do it. Instead make a wide
gradual turn, reduce speed or even stop the
A GREAT TIME OF YEAR
tow completely before heading off in a new
• Make sure anyone being towed is wearing
a lifejacket, and be sure that the skipper,
observer and anyone being towed observes
the 0.05 alcohol limit.
• Watch your wash. Wash can be dangerous
to other vessels, especially small craft such
as dinghies and kayaks, and can cause
damaging erosion impacts. If you want to
make a big wave, keep well clear of small
craft or soft riverbanks, and look for wide
open waterways or areas with hard rocky
• Be prop aware. A spinning propeller is
dangerous to anyone in the water near your
vessel. Be especially careful when picking
up a fallen skier or boarder, or when leaving
or returning to the shore. Make sure any
passengers are properly seated whenever
the boat is moving.
• Fuel fumes can cause fire or explosion. Be
careful when starting your engine and when
refuelling, especially if you have an inboard
petrol engine (popular with waterski and
wakeboarding boats). Use a blower first and
ensure thorough ventilation before turning
the ignition key. When refuelling, everyone
should get off the boat until you are finished.
• Keep your boat’s engine and fuel system
well maintained to reduce the risk of fuel
leaks or the build-up of fumes, not to
mention the inconvenience of breaking
• Beware the ‘silent killer’
monoxide. This is an odourless, tasteless
and colourless gas that can be harmful,
and at high concentrations can be fatal.
Never ever ‘teak surf’ (hang onto the swim
platform) or swim around the back of the
boat while the engine is running. If you
can smell engine fumes at any time, you
are probably breathing in carbon monoxide.
It is important to take action to ensure
you and your passengers are breathing in
fresh air, either by changing speed and/or
• Keep an eye on the condition of your boat’s
towing equipment, especially towing points
and tow ropes. Sudden failure can cause
a serious accident. Regularly inspect
lifejackets for wear and tear, and replace as
Towing is a lot of fun – but keep your vessel and the people being towed well clear of any hazards.
For more information about maritime safety, visit
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