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 www.amc.edu.au/omc 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 is a regular broadcaster on ABC Radio Tropical North and 4MK