Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Marine pest pathway pursued

Yachties will be targeted in a research project aimed at limiting the spread of marine pests within Australia.
The Bureau of Rural Sciences is mapping the movements of human 'agents' that may inadvertently translocate pest species. Researchers will assess and characterise yacht movement patterns, where they go, at what time of the year as well as obtain information on their encounters with one pest species in particular - the North Pacific Seastar (NPS).
An on-line survey has been developed relating to recent boat trips and sightings of the NPS, it can be found here. Phone (02) 6272 4163 or e-mail martine.kinloch@brs.gov.au to take part in the survey.

Knot enough!

An Australian crew looking to better their world sailing speed record exceeded 47 knots ... though not for long enough. Macquarie Innovation wound up their outright speed project with skipper Simon McKeon reporting to the Australian Yachting Federation that they briefly enjoyed "almost ideal" conditions.
On one run, although the foils were not at the optimum setting, they "exceeded 47 knots", but not for 500 metres. A wind changed robbed them of the record. That, for the metric-minded, is 87kmh!

Fishing permits online

Local and interstate anglers are able to purchase and print their freshwater fishing permits online, allowing eager fishers to buy their permits anytime of the day or night, all year round.
The permits will be available from the Department of Primary Industries web site, 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.
The new online permits would allow local and interstate freshwater fishing enthusiasts to buy the permits when it was convenient for them, saving time and making their fishing expedition even more enjoyable.
"Many freshwater anglers travel long distances within Queensland and interstate to fish in stocked dams but sometimes in more remote spots the facilities are not as accessible as other areas," Queensland Fisheries Service (QFS) senior policy officer Michelle Hollaway said.
She said money raised through the Stocked Impoundment Permit (SIP) scheme provided funds to community stocking groups to purchase fish and other activities aimed at enhancing their local fisheries.
"Stocking groups have already benefited from more than $612,000 raised since the scheme was introduced in July 2000," Ms Hollaway said.
Ms Hollaway also reminded anglers to carry their permits with them when fishing.
Stocked Impoundment Permits cost $35 a year or $7 for a week. The permits can be purchased online at www.dpi.qld.gov.au/shop or at bait shops near the dams as well as selected Australia Post offices.

Marine radio survey

A survey of recreational users of the Bureau of Meteorology marine HF radio services is being conducted.
The objective of the survey is to evaluate the usage patterns of the services, broadcast reception, impact of the change to the new services which were introduced on 1 July 2002, and the effectiveness of the public education campaign which was undertaken in association with their implementation.
The survey is conducted by phone via a professional marketing research organisation. Your details will remain confidential for the purposes of the survey and will not be given out to any other group or for any other purpose. Contact Phil Parker National Program Manager, Marine Weather and Oceanographic Services, P.Parker@bom.gov.au

Lifejackets studied

The National Marine Safety Committee has launched a review of applicable standards for Personal Flotation Devices - that's lifejackets - for recreational vessels in Australia.
Chairman Colin Finch said the NMSC had released an issues paper that would be available for public comment until the end of February.
"Marine agencies around Australia require recreational vessels to carry personal flotation devices for each person on board the boat as part of their mandatory safety equipment," Mr Finch said.
"Most States specify that these PFDs must comply with the relevant Australian Standards. The issue for consideration by NMSC is that retailers wish to sell PFDs including inflatable jackets that meet international standards but have not been accredited to Australian Standards. These PFDS are generally not accepted as part of vessel safety equipment in Australia. "
The Issues Paper reports that, "on review of the internationally recognised standards for PFDs currently in worldwide use, such as EN 396 and UL 1180, there is no question that these standards have more comprehensive construction and performance requirements than the current Australian Standards" However, there are issues involved in product certification and servicing of inflatable jackets.
More at www.nmsc.gov.au (go to Have Your Say/Documents for Comment) or by contacting the NMSC on (02) 9555 2879.

Decorative lights at Mackay

Mariners are advised that a light with a flash sequence of (6 seconds on, 27 seconds off, 60 seconds on, 27 seconds off) with visibility 21 miles, will be temporarily established on the Pine Islet Lighthouse which has been relocated to Mackay Harbour in approximate position Latitude 21°06.63'S, Longitude 149°13.49'E. The light will be exhibited on Saturday, 28 December 2002 from 1800 hours to 2200 hours and on Tuesday, 31 December 2002 from 2300 hours to 0100 hours Wednesday, 01 January 2003.
Mariners should use caution not to confuse the light with Aids to Navigation. Charts affected: AUS 249, 250

'Tis another year gone
God Bless you an' yours
May 'ee grant you
As you bend at d'oars.

Newfoundland fisherman's saying.

Best wishes of the Season and
Long may your big jib draw!
Cap'n Dan

News Year resolution

The buzzword for New Year’s is resolution. Think of something you want to do or don't want to do and ruin it by making a resolution. All the usual things are suggested.

Guess what? I haven't been all that good at keeping any of them.

"I don't think you could be any worse at keeping them, you don't even try." Says Mrs Cap'n Dan supportively. For the last couple of years she has offered some suggestions like keeping the dining table clear or losing weight.

My resolution for 2003 is to have more fun, encourage world peace……and clean off the table.

Fair Winds,

Cap’n Dan

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Check weather for safe summer boating

Keeping your 'weather eye' open is a key element of good seamanship. You don't have to know everything about weather forecasting, but getting the right information is vital to safe boating.
Getting a good, reliable marine weather forecast is easy when you know the right sources. Here is a rundown for summer boating weather safety.
Newspapers, local radio and the Bureau of Meteorology website provide coverage, but your marine radio has a range of broadcasts for you.
Airlie Comstat provides a Whitsunday local service each day at 0803, 1203 and 1603 on VHF repeater channels 81, 82 and 22.
A good service for the early morning starters is the Telstra VHF Seaphone service that broadcasts weather forecasts at 0633 and 1633 each day. Whitsunday weather channels are VHF 28 and 86 from Whitsunday Island and Channel 66 Shute Harbour.
The Bureau of Meteorology broadcasts weather information for our waters from VMC Weather Australia located at Charleville in Queensland on the High Frequencies working frequencies: 2201, 4426, 6507, 8176, 12365 and 16537 KHz.
Some vessels, depending on the age of their HF transceivers, may need to install new frequencies in order to receive the Bureau of Meteorology weather information.
Get the forecast and enjoy safe boating in the Whitsundays.

Barra rules

A range of new fishing regulations for freshwater barramundi means more practical rules for stocked dams as well as protection for wild stocks.
The new rules will allow fishing for barramundi in the closed season in 18 stocked dams in Queensland.
In these dams, a take and possession limit of only one barramundi applies during the closed season. This fish can also be greater than the previous 120cm size limit.
Outside the closed season, a take and possession limit of five barramundi will apply in these dams and one of these fish may also be greater than 120cm.
Department of Primary Industries Queensland Fisheries Service (QFS) senior policy officer Michelle Hollaway said the closed season and maximum size limit exemptions made practical sense in stocked dams.
"Maximum size limits are in place to protect female fish and closed seasons are introduced to protect spawning fish," Ms Hollaway said.
"However, these protections are not really necessary in stocked dams because we don't rely on breeding females to maintain the fish population."
Ms Hollaway said the take and possession limit regulations were aimed at balancing the right of anglers to fish for barramundi in stocked dams and protection of wild barramundi stocks.
"There is no practical way to identify a stocked dam barramundi from a wild fish so the new take and possession limit is a compromise," she said.
"This way anglers can have a large barramundi as part of their total take and possession limit outside the closed season and during the closed season they can also fish for and keep one barramundi.
"Anglers are allowed to continue to fish in these 18 dams while possessing their limit of one barramundi during the closed season but are not allowed to fish anywhere else which helps to protect wild stocks."
Ms Hollaway said these arrangements would assist in ensuring that barramundi were not unlawfully taken during the closed season and minimise the potential risk to the sustainability of wild barramundi populations.
The new dam rules apply locally to Eungella, Kinchant, Peter Faust and Burdekin Falls.
On the east coast the closed season for barramundi runs from 1 November to 1 February but changes annually in the Gulf of Carpentaria.
For information about the new recreational fishing rules visit the DPI Fishweb site at www.dpi.qld.gov.a/fishweb or contact the DPI Call Centre on 13 25 23.

Turtle lookout

The washed up remains of a green sea turtle on the Strand in Townsville this week prompted the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority to remind boaters to be on the look out for threatened species.
The dead adult female was discovered on the beach with large propeller gashes in her shell and according to GBRMPA Executive Director, John Tanzer, the loss was especially tragic, as she appeared to be mature enough to breed.
"These turtles don't breed until they are between 40 and 50 years old. This most probably was an accident but boaters really need to be more careful out there," Mr Tanzer said.
Less than 1 per cent of turtles reach maturity making this death very important to the loss of breeding stock.
Anyone who discovers a sick or injured marine animal should phone the Marine Animal Hotline on 1300 360 898.

Boat salvaged
Mariners are advised that the sunken vessel mentioned in notice 519T in Airlie Bay has been salvaged and the Lighted Special Mark buoy has been removed. Mariners are advised Notice No. 519T of 2002 is cancelled. Charts affected: AUS 252, 253, 370, 824

Santa full of spirits

It's the time of the year when Santas seem to arrive at events from all angles. Skydiving Santa, water skiing Santa, motorcycle Santa and boating Santa, surfing Santa, commercial Santa, and my favourite, the Fire Truck Santa.
Having worked out on the Great Barrier Reef I've seen a few SCUBA Santas over the years.
One of the best entrances was a sailing club Santa who arrived in a speedboat to the delight of the kiddies. It soon became clear that Santa had been getting into the Christmas spirits and was feeling quite jolly. The kids enjoyed Santa's visit in spite of him being fairly soggy from his fall out of the boat!

Best wishes of the Season and
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

Holiday boating safety: Check your flares

Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol officers will be paying particular attention to flares during safety equipment inspections. Officers will be inspecting boats both on the water and at boat ramps.
QBFP District Officer, Carl Shurey, said failure to carry current, unexpired flares will attract a $150 on-the-spot fine.
"Two red hand-held flares, two orange smoke flares and a V-sheet are part of the compulsory safety equipment for boats used in partially smooth waters and beyond. They are used to alert other boats or planes in the area if assistance is required." Mr Shurey said.
He said flares should always be stored in a waterproof container and placed where they are easily accessible and protected from the elements.
Flares have a limited lifespan and do carry expiry dates. As flares approach their expiry date, boat operators should make sure they are replaced with an in-date pack. Flares have a life of three years from the date of manufacture before they must be replaced.

Work or play?

Boating industry members now will be able to operate unregistered boats flying Restricted Use Flags, without needing a Coxswain's Ticket.
The Boating Industry Association of Queensland sought clarification of the issue from Queensland Transport after a member holding a Recreational Ship Master's licence received a Marine Infringement Notice, while flying a Restricted Use Flag on an unregistered vessel.
Captain John Watkinson, General Manager Maritime Safety Queensland, said the government recognised that there was a range of activities associated with the manufacture, sale and promotion of boats that required vessels to be operated before registration.
He said the problem was not with the RUF itself, but, with the assumption that, because promotions and sales are commercial in nature, the use of the boat also is commercial.
Maritime Safety Queensland has resolved the ambiguity by requiring boats intended for private recreational use to have recreational registration only.
A new RUF condition will state that the appropriate licence to operate the boat is a Recreational Ship's Masters licence or a licence to operate a commercial or fishing vessel.
Captain Watkinson said these measures were being implemented and that industry members should make sure the appropriate licence condition is included in the issuing of any RUF.
"That way, the boat operator will be able to demonstrate compliance with the law when checked by an enforcement officer," he said.

Island paridise?

Finland has the greatest number of islands in the world - 179,584.

Boat builder wins Award

The small Dandenong based Access Dinghy company achieved "rags to riches" dream, by winning the 2002 National Prime Minister's Award for Excellence in Community and Business Partnerships in the Small Business Category.
At a special Prime Ministers lunch at Parliament House Canberra attended by over 400 people, Mr John Howard announced Access Dinghy as the winner of his award, which recognises the work a small business does with a community organisation to help make a real difference to peoples lives.
Access Dinghy's MD, Chris Mitchell was almost speechless when his win was announced, "This win will open a lot of doors for us world wide for our little sailboat. I'm so proud and very honoured to be part of a team to receive the $10,000 award from the Prime Minister to expand and grow the Sailability program."
Access Dinghy makes and exports tiny 2.3 metre unsinkable-untippable sailboats designed for people with disabilities, has been part of a team which in the last year through 40 national groups has successfully introduced over 20,000 Australians, many who have disabilities, to the joys of sailing.
The dinghy is exported to Sailability programs in the USA, NZ, Canada, Japan, UK, Ireland, France, Singapore, Finland and Portugal.

Waterfront identity

The years had taken their toll on the old sea captain. All those years of hard drinking and life at sea left the old salt with a potbelly, sagging bits and a double chin.
Concerned about retirement, which was imminent, and wanting to 'swallow the anchor' and settle down with a pretty wife on land, the sea captain decided to embark on a self-improvement program. He went on a diet, exercised and gave up drinking. He lost his gut, firmed up his body and even purchased a toupee; he looked 20 years younger.
During his final voyage, his ship came up against a storm and the captain was lost overboard. While the captain was floating in the middle of the ocean he raised his voice to heaven, "God, how could you do this to me on the eve of my retirement? "
God answered, " To tell you the truth captain, I didn't recognize you!"

Call 000

According to the Australian Communications Authority there were 2,360,351 calls made to the 000 emergency number.

Sunken vessel

Mariners are advised that a 7.5 metre vessel has sunk in approximate position Latitude 20°15.909'S, Longitude 148°43.206'E in Airlie Bay. The vessel is only visible at low water and has been marked with a Lighted Special Mark buoy Fl.Y.2.5s.
Mariners should use caution when transiting the area. Charts affected: AUS 252, 253, 370, 824

Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.
- Publilius Syrus ~100 BC

Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

Marine mysteries revealed

Readers and students with an interest in marine life can now visit a virtual fish nursery with the launch of a new Queensland Government on-line educational website, Nature's Nautical Nurseries, by Primary Industries Minister Henry Palaszczuk.
Mr Palaszczuk said scientists from the DPI's Queensland Fisheries Service (QFS) scientists have ventured from their traditional watery world to the virtual, designing a new module to entertain and educate upper primary school students about marine fish habitats, fish, crabs and other aquatic animal and plant life cycles.
Interesting fact sheets on the State's coastal flora and fauna support fun student activities.
Mr Palaszczuk said the website was an important educational tool, teaching students about fish habitat and its ecological value.
He said activities were designed to develop knowledge and encourage students to take a personal interest in caring for Queensland's coasts.
"There is no better time to teach people about the importance of our fish habitats than when they are young and eager to learn," Mr Palaszczuk said.
"This web site is a fun and interactive way to get students involved in marine science as well as give people a general understanding of the environmental and conservation issues that surround marine habitats."
"The site is easy to navigate and includes a glossary and teacher's resources. Teachers will find this an extremely valuable resource," he said.
For more information about Nature's Nautical Nurseries take a tour through the website at www.dpi.qld.gov.au/extra/nnn/

Long distance SOS saves crew

A British yachtsman whose 38ft vessel sank off Malaysia was rescued from a life raft after he alerted coastguards in Falmouth, Cornwall in November.
Thomas Jordan, 28, of Southampton, and David Rauch, a Frenchman, received no response to mayday calls says a report in The Telegraph, so Mr Jordan contacted the coastguard using the pre-programmed number on his satellite telephone and Malaysian authorities sent a boat to rescue them.

Fuelling around

What about the marine engine driver students who were enjoying the windward performance of their trusty Falcon on the Bruce highway? On the return trip from their studies at the Bowen TAFE workshop, they ran out of fuel.

Can You Float a Loan?

A woman was having a medical problem - her husband was snoring very loudly every night! So she called the doctor one morning, and asked him if there was anything he could do to relieve her "suffering."
"Well, there is one operation I can perform that will cure your husband" said the doctor, "but it is really rather expensive. It will cost you $10,000 down, and payments of $1000 for 36 months, plus payments for extras of course.
"My goodness!" the woman exclaimed, "that sounds like I'm buying a yacht!"
"Humm," the doctor murmured, "too obvious, huh?"

Dot you 'i's

Did you know that the dot on the top of the letter 'i' is called a 'tittle' which is Latin for "something very small."

"Basically my wife was immature. I'd be at home in the bath and she'd come in and sink my boats"
- Woody Allen

Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Tour operators told to reform safety systems

The findings of an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission may have serious repercussions for companies marketing a wide range of tours or booking tours for other operators. It could affect any operator of 'adventure holidays' or those providing exciting or extreme sports.
Twenty-one people including 14 Australians were swept to their deaths on a whitewater rafting tour conducted by Swiss company, Adventure World.
An investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has found the Australian company that promoted the tour had not properly investigated safety of the company's activities. It should have investigated the nature of the tour and the risks should have been assessed.
ACCC chairman Allan Fels says it sends a message to all tour companies.
"Where people are going on these adventure-type tours they need to thoroughly and adequately ensure they are safe," he said.
The Australian tour company will reform its quality assurance systems in response to the 1999 Swiss canyoning disaster. However, the company has not admitted liability.


A fisherman lost part of his buttocks this week when he was hit by a boat propeller up the coast at Kelso Reef.

Satellite detects illegal fishing

The hi-tech Vessel Management System (VMS) satellite system has proved the key to the successful detection and apprehension of a prawn trawl operator illegally fishing in closed waters.
The Department of Primary Industries Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol (QBFP) used the system to track the trawler, which was illegally fishing within the Amity Bight closure.
The master of the "Baltic Amber" pleaded guilty and was subsequently fined $3,000 with no conviction recorded in the Cleveland Magistrates Court
QBFP field officer Graham Shield said the VMS system remained an important tool in detecting illegal fishing operations. Mr Shield said by law, all T1 license holders who were those fishing on Queensland's east coast, must be fitted with a VMS system.
"Boats equipped with the VMS technology can be tracked via satellite up and down the coast and their positions are polled by satellite on a regular basis," he said.
"When fishing vessels enter a closed zone the information is relayed to a patrol office through a computer system and informs fisheries officers of the vessel's location.
Mr Shield said fishing zones closed to prawn trawling played an important role in maintaining the sustainability of prawn stocks in Queensland waters.
"These zones act as a nursery for juvenile prawns, which if left untouched, allow prawn stocks to mature and then move into areas where they can be legally caught," he said.
Mr Shield said fishing in a closed zone was a serious fisheries offence and fines of up to $75,000 could apply. Offenders could also have their licenses suspended or cancelled if caught in a closed zone.
Any suspected illegal fishing activities can be reported to the Fishwatch hotline on 1800 117 116.

EPIRBs for hire

Offshore sailors who are deterred by the purchase price of emergency beacons now have a hiring alternative - EPIRBhire.com.au handle all types of distress beacons for vessels and personal use.
Hire rates for a 406mHz EPIRB start from $495 (inc GST) for major offshore races. A 121.5mHz Personal Locator Beacon is about $65 per race.
Locally Phil Pleydel at Whitsunday Marine Electronics is selling 121.5 MHz Mini Sats for $289 and a Pains Wessex Rescue Personal Fastfind 406 Mhz at $1595 incl GST.
Readers are still questioning why there is GST on this essential safety equipment.

Nautical time

A boat painter got the job of painting a small sail boat and when he was asked by the owner how long it would take him to finish the job, he said "Two weeks".
Three weeks went by and the owner, concerned by the delay, confronted the painter. "Hey Paul", said the owner, "You told me that it would take you two weeks to paint my boat and it's been three weeks....What's up with that?"
The painter put his paintbrush down, looked the owner square in the eye and said, "That was two NAUTICAL weeks, like a nautical mile, they're a little longer".

Bombing till Friday 13th

Mariners are advised that a military exercise involving live firing will be carried out in the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area from Monday, 2 December until 2359 hours on Friday, 13 December 2002.
The danger area is all waters in Shoalwater Bay south of a line from Sabina Point across to Old Kiever. Mooly Creek, Raspberry Creek, Oyster Creek, Shoalwater Creek, Georges Creek, Head (Boundary) Creek and East Creek are within the danger area.
All civil vessels are prohibited from entering the danger area during the above period. Charts affected: AUS 260, 367, 370, 822

"Many go fishing all their lives without knowing that it is not fish they are after."

Henry David Thoreau

Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan