Monday, December 05, 2011

New! Crocodile tours for Whitsunday Islands

New! Crocodile tours for Whitsunday Islands

Tourist operators from Hamilton Island will now be able to add crocodile spotting to the list of water based activities with the now confirmed sightings of a crocodile judged to be about three metres long living nearby in Gulnare Inlet on Whitsunday Island.
There is much more to an island holiday than relaxing by the resort pool. Take to the waters and experience the thrill of skiing, para-sailing, wake boarding or being towed behind a high powered speed boat on a water tube with new dimension when you may encounter a protected species of salt water crocodile living nearby.
An alternative to the traditional sunset cruise may be a croc spotting cruise up the inlet such the popular attraction Proserpine River Eco Tours Whitsunday Crocodile Safari.
There is no suggestion at this time that the protected croc is aggressive or any concern other than that people should be aware of its presence and take precautions and that tourist operators will now be cautioning visitors that crocs are actually wild creatures.
The animal may have come to the inlet during the run of bad weather and croc crowding in the Proserpine River and various inlets along the mainland.
The Whitsunday Coast Guardian has a copy of '101 reasons to not swim in the Prossy River' showing results of a recent  survey indicating the locations of at least 101 croc lairs.
Waterfront would love to see a photo of the new island resident croc and perhaps we could offer a prize for a good croc name.

Safe holidays - Your call

Safety gear that would make a fine exhibit in a museum was found by boating safety inspectors from Maritime Safety Queensland recently as boaties get ready for the holiday season.
The historic piece safety gear was presented by a boat owner as safety equipment but was more suitable for a museum than use in an emergency; the kapok (cotton wadding) life jacket dating back to at least the nineteen-sixties.
Poorly maintained, neglected and unsuitable life jackets figured highly among safety breaches noticed by marine inspectors who have been carrying out boat ramp inspections.
The inspectors attending boat ramps offering safety tips and advice say "To their credit most boaties were extremely well prepared for their outings but there were a few extremely worrying exceptions."
Some life jackets had clearly been left lying around for years with perished fabric, broken straps and torn coverings, while others were in good condition but unsuitable for the trip. For example, heading out to sea relying on a PFD type 3 life jacket which is designed only for short outings on smooth water.
The inspectors also noticed several boats not having adequate all-round white lights and coming up short on safety gear requirements such as unregistered EPIRBs and expired flares.
Boat ramp inspection days are a regular Maritime Safety Queensland safe boating activity and inspectors will return to local ramps to give more advice and tips during the holiday period.
Remember to keep life jackets where they can be easily reached and wear them whenever there is a heightened risk or when boating alone or at night.
The Maritime Safety Queensland annual Marine Incident Report, tabled in Queensland parliament, found the loss of 14 lives in 2010 was a significant reduction compared to 20 deaths in 2009.
Only two out of 14 people who died on the water last year were wearing life jackets.

St Bees Island notice

Mariners are advised that a control program requiring the use of live firing of weapons will take place on St Bees Island in the Mackay/Capricorn National Parks Management Area of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park until approximately 1800 hours Thursday, December 1.
Exclusion zones will been placed around St Bee's Island between these dates. The exclusion zone extends seaward of the High Water mark by 500 metres. Marine VHF security calls will be made on VHF channel 16 by the QPWS vessel 'Tamoya'.
St Bees Island is located about 15 nautical miles north east of Mackay. AUS charts 251 & 823

Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Cap'n Dan is a regular broadcaster on ABC Radio Tropical North and 4MK

Secret keel defies Questionable logic

Secret keel defies Questionable logic


Quite a few years ago during the infamous Fun Race a competitor devised a plan to nobble the opposition with a keel attachment in the form of a bucket secured to the unsuspecting yacht's nether regions.

Delivered by SCUBA diver, the bucket keel proved to be all the rage especially the rage of the victim yacht's skipper and crews' subsequent poor performance and discovery of the fiendish plot.

Memory was jogged by an incident during the recent Corporate Sailing Challenge when Westpac bank jonnies topped NAB bean counters on Pioneer Bay.

It seems that at the finish of the Friday evening rum race, Terry Archer's Questionable Frolic picked up some chain from the finish line marker buoy.

So when the Saturday race was a bit slow it may have been initially blamed on the rum from the previous event won indecently by the often-smiling rum winning Ross Winterbourn sailing Bobby D.

On Saturday the Westpac Firsts went sailing on Bobby D and Twister taking first and second with team GoNABs chasing on Questionable Logic and Sandpiper.

Word from the world of high finance is that the share price of sailing is hitting an all time high.


Crew in radio rescue


The South African Maritime Ham radio net was instrumental in the rescue of the crew of sailing vessel 'Wizard' that had struck a submersed shipping container. The Ham (amateur) radio contact lead to the yacht's crew boarding a tanker diverted to the position where the yacht sank.


It happens!


Recent column regarding difficulties in Australian ships highlights we are not alone, as a reader has sent a note about US Navy problems.

It appears the US Navy's newest aircraft carrier the USS George HW Bush built at a cost $6.2 billion has two nuclear reactors, 90 fixed winged aircraft and helicopters, 3,200 ship crew and 2,400 air crew is without one item, working toilets.

Deployed in May, the new carrier has suffered from widespread plumbing failures, which, at times, render the entire ship without a single working head. With remarkable understatement, the crew has complained the non-working vacuum toilets have "affected their morale, health and job performance."

Complicating the matter, some working heads are secured with a lock, letting only sailors who remember the combination inside, sailors said.


Royal Navy


Britain's National Audit Office revealed that the Ministry of Defence is concerned about a shortage of modern attack submarines. The Royal Navy's most advanced nuclear submarine HMS Astute has had more than its share of problems. Delivered 43 months behind schedule and £900 million over budget, during trials it ran aground off the Isle of Skye. There was also a collision with the tug that came to help. The sub was idled by mechanical failures, and then a disgruntled sailor shot and killed one ship's officer and wounded another while the ship was on public relations call in Southampton. The ship that the British papers had begun to call "HMS Calamity" is now being referred to as "jinxed


Don't mention the war!


The Germans recently had a naming ceremony for their new non-nuclear hydrogen fuel cell powered submarine, the U35, which can operate underwater for three weeks without surfacing, is extremely quiet and said to be virtually undetectable. The design sounds very interesting and advanced, even if the submarine's name is less than catchy.


Whitehaven marine notice


Your Waterfront writer was told about a yacht attaching itself to this navigation mark last week and causing it to be out of position. 'Four skippers bommie' so named in memory of one Whitehaven Beach Party Day when a vessel with four local skippers displayed their local knowledge by parking on top of it, much to the delight of the many observers.

Mariners are advised that the lighted north cardinal mark buoy Q temporarily established at the southern end of Whitehaven Beach off Whitsunday Island has been re-established in position. The buoy marks the remnants of the destroyed north cardinal mark beacon. Thanks to Maritime Safety Queensland for the quick repair. AUS charts 252 & 253


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Naturally Queensland 2020: The Master Plan

Naturally Queensland 2020: The Master Plan


Queensland Parks and Wildlife Service (QPWS) have released a consultation draft of 'Naturally Queensland 2020: The Master Plan for protected areas, forests and wildlife'.

Covering marine parks as well as terrestrial protected areas, this is your opportunity to update the original QPWS Master Plan released in 2001.

Revising the Master Plan provides QPWS and the community the opportunity to reflect on past challenges and successes, and to set the direction for 2020. 

The draft Master Plan outlines the vision and approach for management of protected areas, both terrestrial and marine, forests and wildlife in Queensland. The draft also proposes strategic actions for QPWS management, including facing many challenges.

The consultation period for the draft Master Plan closes on November 20, the draft will be found on the Department of Environment and Resource Management website. Your comments on the draft are greatly appreciated. To provide comment email

Do not miss this opportunity to contribute to a new vision for Queensland's protected areas, forests and wildlife!


Sailors clean up


Since the last day of 1988, it has been illegal, a criminal act, for ships to dump plastics into the ocean.

The Keep the Oceans Clean! team will lead beach clean ups at all ten Host Ports during the Volvo Ocean Race 2011-12 now being sailed, from the remote and rugged coastal beaches of South Africa's Cape Town to the pebbled shores and cool waters of Galway, Ireland.

The Volvo Ocean Race is the latest yachting event to actively encourage people to clean up our oceans. Stormwater, throwing rubbish into the water from land and overboard, oil spills; accidents and criminal intent continue, and it is destroying our sea life and our seas.

The six boats competing in the Volvo Ocean Race departed from Alicante, Spain last week and were immediately battered by rough seas and high winds while still in the Mediterranean. The Volvo Ocean Race (formerly the Whitbread Round the World Race) is a yacht race around the world, held every three years. The first leg finishes in Cape Town, South Africa. 


Sailing: Facebook or Flintstone?


While the new action-packed America's Cup format is designed to appeal to "the Facebook generation, not the Flintstone generation," quoting four-time America's Cup winning New Zealander Russell Coutts, the Olympics are retreating to the Stone Age.

Sailors celebrated the news from International Sailing Federation (ISAF) that a multihull would be re-introduced for the 2016 Games. However, the celebrations did not last long when it became clear the venerable Tornado would not be considered, in fact it is to be a Two Person Mixed Gender Multihull,

Multiple Olympic medallist Roland Gaebler says there are weight and other restrictions that will not only exclude the Tornado, but also some Tornado Olympians and sailors who fought so hard to get the multihull reinstated into the Games, because they weigh too much.

Why the multihull was pulled from the Games in the first place will always remain a mystery to most of us, especially considering sailing's low profile in the media and the multihull, along with the 49er, being the biggest media puller of the lot.

The unpopular and ill-considered dismissal of the Tornado should be re-thought. So should the weight and other restrictions. Since multihull sailors got a whiff of the multihull returning to the Games, fleets of Tornados worldwide have increased, with many women sailing them. Carolijn Brouwer led the way as the first woman to sail a Tornado at the Olympic Games when she competed as a skipper in Qingdao at the 2008 Beijing Games. Since then, many women are sailing the Tornado as skipper and as crew.


Marine notices


Speed limit for Boat Haven Bay entrance channel - Mariners be advised that a 6-knot speed limit is declared for the entrance channel into Port of Airlie marina and public boat ramp.

Heading south? Great Keppel Island - Mariners be advised that the Half Tide Rocks light be restored to normal. AUS charts 247 & 367

Pancake Creek - be advised that back night lead at Pancake Creek has been restored to normal. AUS chart 819


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Cap'n Dan is a regular broadcaster on ABC Tropical North and 4MK


Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Underfunded Reef managers struggle with huge projects

Underfunded Reef managers struggle with huge projects


Lack of funding by successive state and federal governments is leaving "financially constrained" managers of the Great Barrier Reef to struggle with the enormous pressures facing the future of development and environment.

ABC's Four Corners program on Monday night reported that the World Heritage Commission has expressed concerns over the growth of the LNG/CSG industry and the many other projects along the Queensland coast that will affect the Great Barrier Reef, a world heritage-listed area.

Dr Fanny Douvere is co-ordinator of the marine program of UNESCO's World Heritage Centre in Paris.

"When we received the environmental impact assessment from the government of Australia, it appears to have contradictory statements," Dr Douvere said.

"On the one hand it states that the facilities and the measures that are taken for the protection of the environment make it unlikely that there will be any significant negative impact on the outstanding and universal value of the Great Barrier Reef.

"On the other hand it also concludes that there will be a direct and indirect impact on the coastal and marine habitats and species including seagrass, mangroves, dugongs and turtles as well."

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has also had concerns over the concentration of the industry on the Barrier Reef.

"Our concerns filled many pages, but it relates to the things you'd expect any potential spill over into the marine park of dredging activity, impacts on migratory species, humpback dolphin, Indo-Pacific and the snub fin dolphins," scientist and Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Chair Dr Russell Reichelt said.

Chairs of all Local Marine Advisory Committees responsible for providing advice to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority on matters of interest to Reef communities, have drafted a letter to Dr Reichelt passing on grave concerns to Federal Minister Burke and the Marine Park Authority Board about the impacts of increased coastal developments on the Great Barrier Reef.

"At our recent annual conference, we agreed that the cumulative impacts of development, for example ports expansions, will have significant detrimental effects on both the ecological and socio-economic life of the region."

"Of particular concern are the projects at Gladstone, Abbot Point, Port Alma, Port of Townsville and Bathurst Bay."

"We implore the Federal Government in its decision making, to think beyond the short-term to consider the long-term protection of the Great Barrier Reef for the benefit of generations to come."

A report about the impact of dredging in Gladstone Harbour by the Gladstone Port Corporation, showed no link between the dredging and "lesions" found in fish in the harbour. It did find that levels of aluminium, copper and chromium exceeded the safety guidelines at several sites in the harbour but these were not, "of significant environmental concern."

Meanwhile Gladstone fishers cannot sell their product.


G20 yachties view


France was honoured to chair the Group of Twenty last week in the movie resort town of Cannes. Established in 1999, G20 brings together major advanced and emerging economies to stabilize the global financial market and bring along a large entourage to chew the fat.

Our Whitsunday Coast Guardian reporter was on the job to file this exclusive story.

"Cannes. G20 summit. Security is really crazy. The boys aren't allowed to work out side the boat, must stay inside. NO marine movement anywhere except by various authorities. No fly zone. Military check points everywhere etc. Army on all the quays. LOADS of guys in all kind of uniform everywhere!! (Girls like that part). Unique to be here."


That Cup is on


Love it or hate it, The America's Cup World Series sails on San Diego Bay November 12-20. This is extreme experience; cutting-edge wing-sailed AC45 catamarans hitting speeds over 30-knots in short, sharp, intense races. No tame 12-metre yachts here.

Testing the abilities of the best sailing teams in the world on tight courses squeezed to ensure close action with a mix of fleet and match racing. Spectators will see the racing on one of the best natural harbours in North America, a natural amphitheatre for sailboat racing.


Last Post


Remembrance Day, Poppy Day, Armistice Day or Veterans Day - 11 hour 11/11/11


Proserpine River


Mariners are advised that the lighted Starboard Lateral Mark No.1 buoy Fl.G.3s temporarily established to mark the destroyed Starboard Lateral Mark No.1 beacon Fl.G.3s in the entrance to the Proserpine River, has been re-established. Navigate with caution.


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Criminal marine environment litterbugs targeted

 Criminal marine environment litterbugs targeted


Marine Debris in the Great Barrier Reef was just one issue raised at the Local Marine Advisory Committee Chairs meeting held over the weekend in Townsville.

Local Marine Advisory Committees representing coastal areas from Torres Straight to the Sunshine Coast, reported strong concerns regarding marine debris, much of it plastic garbage, and found it was an issue in most areas.

Russell Reichelt, Chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority lead a discussion that focused on the leading work of the Whitsunday Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc operation and how to get increased funding support for this positive community operation.

While much rubbish is ship sourced, local government and land based litterbugs funnel garbage into the sea through stormwater and poorly controlled runoff.

Increasing levels of debris are being observed and recorded in areas of shipping 'parking areas' (mooring and anchoring) areas in contravention of state and international law especially the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 relating thereto (MARPOL 73/78) of the International Maritime Organization.

Issues noted included raising awareness, encouraging scientific surveys, industry and government survey info and that derived from Marine Park patrols. Encouraging public contributions of information to contribute to a knowledge base on the issue and creating a database through the Integrated Eye on the Reef and then regular reporting from the database to inform the public of status and trends.

The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority is meeting with Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) and Maritime Safety Queensland this week as part of the GBR Shipping Management Group.

Items to target will be reducing incidence of debris, assess sources of debris and target information campaigns at those sources aiming at establishing a best practice regimes.

Fund raising for local action including clean up, awareness and working with operators dealing with shipping such as port NQ Bulk Ports and BMA and local councils and NRM bodies.


What's a Nurdle?


Nurdles, also known as mermaids' tears, are plastic pellets typically less than five millimetres in diameter, and are a major component of marine debris.


Ocean sailors clean up


Since the last day of 1988, it has been illegal for ships to dump plastics into the ocean.

The Volvo Ocean Race aims to raise awareness of the problem while voicing a call for everyone to help reduce pollution and share in a simple message through Keep the Oceans Clean!

Volvo Ocean Race Chief Executive Knut Frostad said the initiative is an opportunity to make a global difference.

'This is the project we have been searching for,' Frostad said. 'It has meaning to the race, the sailors and supporters, who all have the chance to make a real difference.

'The rubbish in the ocean is a concern for everyone and together we will raise awareness of this problem, engage adults and children and inspire them to be part of the solution.''

Frostad added that pollution was a sporting problem as well as an environmental one. "For Volvo Ocean Race sailors the rubbish not only pollutes their sporting arena but it can be problematic when they're racing because it can catch on the keel, rudder and daggerboards and slow down the boat,"




"I believe the technical term for this project is a shemozzle," says Australian defence strategist Andrew Davies. The A$600 million purchase of anti-submarine torpedoes from Europe took 12 years. Now that they have finally been delivered, military planners have found the user manuals are only available in Italian and French. Thus, the Australian Defence Materiel Organisation has advertised for technical translators, who have appropriate security clearances, to make the manuals readable to the people who need to integrate the weapons into naval vessels. That's expected to cost at least A$110,000 and add further delay.


Notice to Mariners


Proserpine River entrance - Mariners are advised that the lighted Starboard Lateral Mark No.1 buoy Fl.G.3s temporarily established in approximate position Latitude 20°30.65'S, Longitude 148°44.05'E to mark the destroyed Starboard Lateral Mark No.1 beacon Fl.G.3s in the entrance to the Proserpine River is off station. Mariners should use caution when navigating in the vicinity as remnants of the destroyed structure remain. AUS charts 252 & 824


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Cap'n Dan is a regular broadcaster on ABC Radio Tropical North and 4MK



Remembering Keith Williams, CMG

Remembering Keith Williams, CMG


Like him or not, Keith Williams was one of those people who put everything on the line when he did something; and he did a lot!

Australian water ski champion from 1957 to 1960, Keith made water skiing popular in Australia. He went on to car racing, Sea World theme park, Hamilton Island, Port Hinchinbrook and a few other items along the way.

To say he was a pioneer of the tourism industry hardly does justice to this man of grand vision, ability and let it be said, cunning.

Keith bought Hamilton Island in 1975, building and operated it until 1996. After floating on the ASX, the Oatley family bought the island in 2003.

Hamilton Island Race Week started 1984, a regatta which stands today as Australia's premier yachting event. Too much fire when the resort burnt down and too much water when the regatta was nicknamed 'rain week'

Keith loved all the stuff of life and always had his toes if not feet over the line such as putting a big dozer on Dent Island cutting a road before he had the lease signed and is it true that pure white sand from Whitehaven Beach ended up on Hamilton Island?

While some stories cannot be told perhaps (yet?), some should be. Before the advent of the golf course, golf buggies were plenty of fun, racing, and parking in buildings, pools and even the harbour. Flags of various types got knocked off but watch out yachties if you got nabbed; the monocle clad Keith was not to be toyed with and invented the iconic island staff terminology 'NBO' - i.e., Next Boat Out; meaning you are fired or not desired! Those were the days.

Spray painting slogans on his speedboat 'Awesome' lead to the NBOing of perhaps the wrong person as an "I'm still here" graffiti appeared later.

Souveniring the carved wood Golden Plover barstool from the Bare Foot Bar lead to instant action by Keith leading to the crew returning the pirate flag draped bar stool 'coffin' in a mock funeral.

Golden Plover was usually alongside across Front Street from the bar and lots of mischief happened in that small area including up in the ship's rigging.

Stories are coming in so what about this quote, "Went pig shooting with Keith Williams in his helicopter, trying to shoot pigs with a Heckler and Koch machine gun."

Speaking on behalf of his family, son Ben Williams said details of a gathering to celebrate Keith's 82 years of life would be announced soon.


Divers left at sea


Tourists on a scuba diving trip off the coast of Key Biscayne, Florida surfaced after being diving for 55 minutes, to find four-foot swells and no dive boat. Paul Kline of Austin, Texas, and a diver from Spain said "We were in shock," realizing they were left behind miles offshore. The two men spotted a fishing buoy and held on for more than two hours until rescued by a passing yacht. When the captain of the dive boat was finally reached, he refused to answer questions about how he lost track of two men he was responsible for.

The boat operator was barraged by abusive phone calls, emails and social media messages calling the operator, captain and crew idiots and morons and said they hoped the stranded divers would sue and drive them out of business.

Another cheeky writer asked if his wife could be given the same "special treatment," saying he'd "like to leave her clinging to a buoy!" The US Coast Guard is investigating the incident.


Remarkable Remembrance Day


The RSL Airlie Beach Whitsunday Sub Branch advises that Remembrance Day service will commence at 1100 Friday November 11 and for those interested in unique numbers it will be the eleventh hour of 11/11/11. There will be a get together after. A bus will be provided to attend the Cenotaph. They could also use a driver for the day – details Bill Rose 49464486


Mariner notices


Bowen pilotage area - Mariners are advised that the Safe Water Mark N2 Iso 2s positioned latitude 20° 01.2680'S longitude 148° 16.9719'E has been reported unlit.

Bowen Boat Harbour - be advised that the port beacon in position latitude 20° 01.1776' S, longitude 148° 16.4022' E has been reported flashing irregular. Mariners are advised to navigate with caution. AUS chart 268.

Cape Edgecumbe to Abbot Point - Special light buoys, Fl.Y.5s, exist in positions marking scientific instruments. AUS chart 852


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Cap'n Dan is a regular broadcaster on ABC Radio Tropical North and 4MK


Friday, October 21, 2011

Marine debris criminals spoiling natural beauty of Great Barrier Reef

 Marine debris criminals spoiling natural beauty of Great Barrier Reef


A report prepared by local group Eco Barge says thoughtless people, criminal seafarers and stormwater are responsible for much of the rubbish, particularly plastic, that blights not just the Great Barrier Reef and islands but all oceans on the planet.

"The proliferate use of disposable plastic is the primary driver," says Founding Chair Libby Edge of the recently renamed Eco Barge Clean Seas Inc.

"But it is the poor management of its ultimate disposal that is creating the marine debris blight," Ms Edge told the Whitsunday Coast Guardian this week before the release of her report at the GBRMPA Local Marine Advisory Committee Chairs meeting to be held in Townsville on October 29-30.

Thoughtless throw-away behaviours coupled to a lack of adequate waste control measures in our urban infrastructure enables the plastic debris to enter into our local waters.

Over the last two years Eco Barge volunteers, including Tony Abbott have collected 5,890 kilograms of marine debris (excluding wreckage from the post cyclone Ului clean up). Almost five kilometres of binding, cable, fishing line & nets, rope, strapping band and tape was retrieved from the islands and a very disgusting 14,300 cigarette butts collected in Airlie Beach's main beach, marinas & the main street.


Marine radio update


The Office of Maritime Communications at the Australian Maritime College is responsible for all marine radio examinations and certification in Australia.

This includes the management of the examination network across Australia, production of the Marine Radio Operators Handbook, exams and certificates for Marine Radio Operator's Certificate of Proficiency (MROCP) VHF and Satellite Communications Certificates.

"So, how do I obtain a marine radio certificate of proficiency?" The place to start is where you will find a downloadable copy of the current marine radio handbook and advice regarding examinations and indeed, exam questions and answers. Further information on local training and exams is available from Volunteer Marine Rescue and commercial trainers.

A recent question was from a boatie who has had a licence for a long time; Q. "I want to update my knowledge, can I sit another radio operators exam if I already hold a qualification?"

A.  No, do not sit a second exam. If you fail, it will override your previous qualification. You may update your knowledge by reading the handbook and doing the revision quizzes or even attending a course but do not sit the exam.


Kids' jolly boats


Don't forgot the oars! Children just love Jolly Boats, the inflatables and dinghies that are fun to mess about in, with adult supervision, while they learn the skills. Then adventure awaits.

While the outboard engine is a huge attraction, ensure you teach safe practices; teach the children to row.

Personal flotation devices are needed and see that they can get back into the boat.

Monitor the weather and currents. Little arms rowing have a hard time getting back to safety against a strong wind or current. Set boundaries; say only between the boat and the beach, statistically the most dangerous place, so stand watch.

Little ones join in the fun and gain huge satisfaction at mastering rowing, but ensure they are well supervised and remember they can enjoy some measure of independence at the end of a rope. As with everything there are risks involved, but with sensible safety measures,


Message in a Bottle: Old School S.O.S.


The current recommended response on a merchant ship boarded by pirates is to radio a distress call, disable the ship's engines and to retreat into a "citadel," a safe locked-down space aboard the ship to await either rescue or until the pirates simply give up and go away. That is what the officers and crew of the MV Montecristo did when boarded by pirates last week.

Once they retreated however, they lacked a means to communicate with NATO rescuers. So, they used a more traditional means of communication - they stuffed a message in a bottle, stuck a flashing beacon on top and threw the bottle out a porthole. NATO forces retrieved the bottle and learning that the crew was safe, launched a raid on the ship capturing the pirates.


Notice to mariners


Eimeo Creek - Mariners are advised that the Port Lateral Mark beacon Fl.R.2.5s in Eimeo Creek is temporarily unlit. Mariners should navigate with caution in the vicinity. AUS charts 249 & 251


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Cap'n Dan is a regular broadcaster on ABC Radio Tropical North and 4MK



Whitsunday Islands to feature on new weather map

Whitsunday Islands to feature on new weather map


New forecasting technology to be introduced by the Bureau of Meteorology will allow for the first time weather forecasting focused on the Whitsunday Islands enhancing the needs of our marine tourism industry with accurate forecasting and safety.

Neal Moodie, National Manager Marine weather Services and Tony Auden Meteorologist at the Brisbane Regional Forecasting Centre of the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) met with a core group of local mariners last week in Airlie Beach that provided an opportunity to discuss, face to face, weather issues that affect our area.

"I enjoyed meeting with this broad group of mariners with obvious expertise about and passion for the Whitsundays," Mr Moodie told the Whitsunday Coast Guardian at the meeting on Thursday night.

"The Whitsunday group will be the first to try out the Bureau's new forecasting and reporting system being introduced by the BoM before it is released to the wider public, probably next year.

"I am expecting we will receive well thought out and considered feedback from this Whitsunday group," Mr Moodie added.

Other issues included the scope of forecasts, the wording and dealing with media sensationalism; called 'beat-ups' in the world of journalism where the motto is "if it bleeds, it leads" that also destroys our tourism industry.

Also discussed was a variety of weather issues including extended forecasts to assist tourists to plan their time here and marine radio broadcasts with a midday update to help planning for overnight anchorages.

Whitsunday Charter Boat Industry Association organised the meeting attended by local Maritime Safety Queensland Safety Officers and members of the Bareboat and commercial marine industry.


Message in a bottle


In this age of email, text SMS, instant messaging and Facebook/Twitter, it's nice to hear about something different and Olde Worlde.

Harold Hackett of Prince Edward Island in eastern Canada started throwing bottles with messages inside into the Atlantic Ocean in 1996. Since then he has cast 4,800 bottles into the sea and has received 3,100 letters back from Africa, Russia, Holland, the UK, France, Scotland, Ireland, parts of New England, Florida, Norway and the Bahamas. His response rate may be better than the average "Friend" request rate on Facebook and Mr Hackett says he does not put his telephone number or an email on the messages, as he would rather get a letter that he can treasure.


Troubled tourists


Readers say they enjoyed the real comments made by British tourists to their travel agents. Here are a few more pearlers.

"No one told us there would be fish in the sea. The children were startled."

"It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England; it only took the Americans three hours to get home."

"I compared the size of our one-bedroom apartment to our friends' three-bedroom apartment and ours was significantly smaller."

"I was bitten by a mosquito; no-one said they could bite."

"On my holiday to Goa in India, I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don't like spicy food at all."

Finally, in Spain, "There are too many Spanish people. The receptionist speaks Spanish. The food is Spanish. Too many foreigners now live abroad." Moreover, "It's lazy of the local shopkeepers to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during 'siesta' time - this should be banned."


Storytelling Challenge


The folks at Jack Tar Magazine are sponsoring a writing contest for young writers "The New Conrads" Storytelling Challenge, with US$1,000 prize money. Joseph Conrad sailed and wrote during the demise of "The Golden Age of Sail" and the rise of steam and diesel. 100 years later, giant diesel-powered ships are already back to using sails in order to save fuel. What will shipping look like when oil becomes too expensive to power the thousands of cargo vessels upon which the global economy depends?

Create a story, 1000 words or more, that focuses on the maritime culture and/or the shipping industry in the post-petroleum future. Deadline is midnight, October 31. Email inquiries and stories to


Port of Airlie notices


Speed limit declared - Mariners be advised that a six-knot speed limit be declared for the entire entrance channel into the Port of Airlie marina, Boat Haven Bay.

Exclusion zones - Mariners take note that exclusion zones be declared within the Port of Airlie marina. The exclusion zones encompass the marina pontoons and walkways construction sites.

Chartlet maps are available for both items from MSQ to update AUS charts 252 & 268


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Thursday, October 06, 2011

Marine weather watchers wanted for their ideas

Marine weather watchers wanted for their ideas


A meeting this week will provide an opportunity for the Bureau of Meteorology to meet with the Whitsunday Marine Community and discuss a variety of weather issues.

Rachael Bell, Whitsunday Charter Boat Industry Association Regional Coordinator says all mariners and users of marine weather services are invited to the meeting this Thursday October 6, 6pm at PCYC.

"This meeting may be a good opportunity to lobby to get Airlie Beach onto the local and national weather maps and forecasts; something many have wanted for a long time," Ms Bell told the Whitsunday Coast Guardian.

"There is an interesting list of items the BoM would like to discuss with Mariners however it is important to RSVP by contacting Pradeep Singh on 07 3239 8751 or to ensure good attendance." Ms Bell added.

Mariners are familiar with the products provided by BoM and we use them everyday. However this National Issues Agenda will look to provide enhanced services to the marine industry using advance technology to provide more localised forecasting and reporting.

Both recreational and commercial users know the current forecast area such as Bowen to St Laurance is a huge area that often contains a variety of weather systems. Would smaller more targeted areas be of more use? South East Queensland area is divided into four smaller areas.

This is now on the agenda and includes naming convention of new areas, how to refer to new areas in warnings, the setup of broadcast schedules to accommodate new areas, coastal services for Marine radio.

Would marine users like an extension of forecasts to four days? A culture heavily influencing marine activities is tourism and it is believed that tourists would like to plan their trips using seven-day forecasts. What are your thoughts and is it achievable?

How should wind changes be described and do we need to review the observations provided? Locally most mariners use the observations at Hamilton Island rather than Proserpine Whitsunday Coast Airport - common sense really for marine crew. Perhaps sites to record wind speed and direction, pressure and air temperature at agreed sites desired by mariners. Some of this would duplicate the standard BOM network in some locations, but sites located on water's edge would be more useful rather than inland at an airport.

How to make the forecast more relevant to the recreational boater. A problem with coastal services for Marine radio Issue is that the text is becoming too detailed and is pushing the boundaries of the broadcast schedule. Mariners are keen to avoid adverse weather conditions on their journeys. BoM is seeking advice on how to resolve this issue. 

An interesting element of the presentation will be a review of anecdotal reports from the Japan generated tsunami in March 2011. BoM wants to know what is the best way to notify mariners, what education is required?

The capabilities of HF digital radio to provide multi-streamed voice broadcasts, results in more regular updates of forecast information with a marine survey indicated a large increase in mariners using laptops on board.

It may be useful to consider a local committee to consider, advance and advocate benefits for our area and industry.


Port of Airlie?


If the Bureau of Meteorology was to consider a new naming convention policy for coastal weather zones based on major port, or geographic location, what might it be?

Airlie Beach and Whitsunday are currently not registered ports so it might be worth looking at this . . . again.


Acacia Island, Port Newry


Mariners are advised that a 4.1-metre aluminium open vessel has capsized adjacent Acacia Island in Port Newry and may be semi-submerged and drifting, is considered a potential navigation hazard. Mariners should navigate with caution in the vicinity. AUS charts 251 & 824


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Have a safe holiday on the water


Water safety and school holiday fun


Whether it is running a multi-million-dollar ship tracking system covering the entire Great Barrier Reef, to preventing maritime accidents and safeguarding Australia's most precious marine environmental icons or helping kids with holiday activities, The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has a big job.

Not only does that job cover Australia's huge coastline but also includes the safety of boats and ships of all sizes and their safe construction and crewing in conjunction with Maritime Safety Queensland and the Water Police.

The AMSA website has plenty to help holiday kids better understand our marine environment and what can be done to protect it.

The AMSA website has been developed to encourage children to learn about the marine environment in a fun and interactive way. It will help them become more aware, respectful and passionate about our marine environment.

An oil spill cleanup experiment shows the effects of oil and explains what happens to spilled oil and experiments about oil bioremediation after the initial cleanup

Protect our seas education kits may be requested and other links explored at


Family fun on the water


Boating is an exciting and fun, family leisure option and by educating away some of the risks, parents can relax and the whole family will gain more from the experience.

Perhaps you didn't know that a good game can be made with lifejacket practice. Here goes, the game of 25 Second Lifejackets.

Run a 25-second lifejacket drill. When the skipper yells 'Lifejackets' everyone on board should appear on deck with their lifejacket on and a designated crew member also carries the grab bag of safety gear. Practise this with the family until it is completed within 25 seconds; no longer!

Over the side kid! Your children need to experience jumping into the water with their lifejacket on. As well as being a great advance check of the suitability of the jacket, it is essential that the children have confidence in the flotation of their jacket to reduce the possibility of panic in an emergency.  Find that nice warm bay and jump off the stern fully kitted up, get them used to swimming around in the jacket so that they learn the effect of the extra buoyancy on their body.

Show your children how to hold the jacket by pulling down gently on the collar while they jump. A fun but valuable practice is to jump in fully clothed with the jacket as your children will not necessarily be in their togs in an emergency and different clothing can affect their flotation.

These practices can be a fun game for children, making them better prepared in an emergency and give parents confidence in the effectiveness of safety measures.


Family as Crew


Engage your family as much as possible in the operation of the boat. More experience and knowledge leads to less danger. Kids should be shown and encouraged to start/stop the engine, use the manual winches, switch electrical equipment on an off, operate the anchor control, VHF radio and trim the sails.


Marine Notices


St Bees Island - a feral animal control program using live firing weapons will take place on St Bees Island October 3 Р7. An exclusion zone extends 500 metres seaward of the High Water mark. Marine VHF s̩curit̩ calls will be made on channel 16 by the Queensland Parks & Wildlife Service vessel 'Tamoya'. AUS charts 251 & 823


Abel Point Marina Entrance - be advised that the port lateral mark No.6 beacon Fl R 3s and starboard lateral mark No. 7 beacon Fl G 3s, which mark the entrance into Abel Point Marina, is temporarily unlit.

AUS charts 253 & 268


Port of Airlie Marina - pile-driving operations continue in Port of Airlie Marina. A Fl Y light marks the outermost pile by night.

Mariners should use caution in the vicinity.

AUS charts 252 & 268


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan


Cap'n Dan is a regular broadcaster on ABC Radio Tropical North