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 is a regular broadcaster on ABC Radio Tropical North and 4MK