Sunday, July 29, 2012

Olympic lifesavers are winners

Olympic lifesavers are winners
Your family will be winners when you give your whole crew a good start with a new onboard Olympic safety drill for your boat.
Adding an Olympic theme to your life jacket drill will add some fun to the safety drill.
"A great way to make sure kids know where to find their life jackets and how to put them on in a hurry is to make a safe game of the lesson," Maritime Safety Queensland acting General Manager John Kavanagh said.
"Try timing everyone - they'll soon know their personal best and be out to beat it.
"Skippers should be looking forward to fun with the family, but if things change quickly at sea they need to be prepared for emergencies.
"This means thoroughly checking the boat's safety equipment, making sure there are correct life jackets for everyone onboard, and they're adjusted to fit for immediate use."
Mr Kavanagh said checking expiry dates on all safety equipment was always a good idea, particularly for boats not used regularly.
"Boaties need to prepare for the unexpected with an unforeseen breakdown easily compounding into a seriously threatening situation."
Super trawler protest
The super trawler FV Margiris's imminent arrival in Australia has resulted in thousands of recreational fishers protesting across Tasmania over the weekend.
Those attending the rally were protesting against Seafish Tasmania's plans to bring the 142-metre trawler to Australia and base it at Devonport. FV Margiris plans to fish an 18,000 tonne quota of jack mackerel and red bait in Commonwealth waters, raising concerns that fish stocks will be seriously depleted as a result.
Launceston rally spokesman Mike Stevens said more than 150 boats took part in the northern rally, the ABC reports.
"If this doesn't send a message to politicians that there's a huge concern by recreational fishermen in Tasmania, I don't know what will," Stevens said.
"All these boats that are here today are recreational fishers and they're concerned about what this will do to Tasmania's recreational fishery and the whole food chain."
More than 100 boats and 300 people turned out to the rally held between Devonport and Burnie.
In a statement, Seafish Tasmania director Gerry Geen says the company respects the rights of individuals and groups to conduct peaceful and legal protest.
Geen says the company is regularly consulting with recreational and game fishers regarding their concerns about local fish stock depletion.
Jungle perch plan hatched
Jungle perch are set to make a comeback in Queensland waters with the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) receiving $483,000 in funding from the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation to accelerate fingerling production.
Principal fisheries biologist Michael Hutchison said there was a lot of demand from fishers for jungle perch, which had become very scarce in parts of Queensland.
"In many areas the environmental causes behind this disappearance, including barriers to migration have now been addressed, so we have an opportunity to reintroduce jungle perch to rivers in the Mackay-Whitsunday region," he said.
"To do that, we need to produce jungle perch fingerlings and this is where our research comes in.
"We have been able to successfully spawn jungle perch in the past, but getting the tiny larvae to feed has been problematic.
"The fingerlings produced will be stocked into suitable river habitats to re-establish jungle perch fisheries where they used to occur. The survival of stocked fingerlings will be monitored to help improve future stocking success.
"It is also proposed that successful fingerling production techniques are passed on to private hatcheries."
Jungle perch are an iconic angling fish reaching more than 3kg in weight spending most of their life in freshwater but migrate to salt water to spawn.
DAFF will work with James Cook University and the Freshwater Fishing and Stocking Association of Queensland.
Cape Bowling Green
Mariners are advised that the sandbar near Cape Bowling Green is constantly changing. The sand bar has been reported to extend approximately 1000 metres westwards from its currently charted position to approximate position latitude 19° 18.02' S, longitude 147° 22.6' E. Mariners are advised that natural currents cause this sand bar to shift and it should not be used as a reference point for navigation. Mariners are advised give the bar a wide berth and to navigate with extreme caution near Cape Bowling Green.
AUS charts affected: 257 & 827
"To avoid situations in which you might make mistakes may be the biggest mistake of all" Peter McWilliams, Life 101
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

The Card dealt bad hand

The Card dealt bad hand
The Card, an 83-foot Bruce Farr designed maxi yacht had competed in the Whitbread Around The World Race, Sydney to Hobart Challenges, won the Whitsunday Maxi Challenge and Airlie Fun Race. 
About a month ago she broke her South Molle mooring and washed up on Armit Island where she languished until recent bad weather tore her to shreds.
A sad end for a boat with a very interesting if chequered past that included the '89-90 Whitbread as a Swedish entry when she famously lost the mizzen in a spectacular tangle with a spectator boat just after the start in NZ.
Life jackets work: report
Life jackets are life savers – that's the message from Queensland's 2011 Marine Incident Report. Minister for Transport and Main Roads Scott Emerson said the report showed there were 14 fatalities on Queensland waterways last year and the report provided a timely reminder for all boaties to wear a life jacket.
"In nine of the fatalities, eight people ended up in the water and drowned and were not known to have been wearing a life jacket," Mr Emerson said.
"This is disturbing and shows how important such a simple floatation device can be in saving your life".
The report showed while there were two fewer fatal incidents than the previous year, there were still the same number of deaths on Queensland waters.
"Only two of the 12 fatal marine incidents might reasonably be attributed to misfortune," Mr Emerson said.
"Alcohol was also known to be involved in at least two separate fatal marine incidents.
"Of the remaining 10 incidents, better trip planning, situational awareness and more appropriate responses to changing circumstances could have reduced the chance of a fatality occurring."
Mr Emerson said the marine incident report provided valuable lessons.
 "Skippers should keep a proper lookout and remember the same under .05 rule for drink driving applies on the water as on the road."
Section 79, 79A and 80 of the Transport Operations (Road Use Management) Act 1995 outlines the provisions in relation to offences, police powers etc. concerning drink and drug driving.
Maritime Safety Queensland's Marine Incident Report 2011 was tabled in Parliament and is available at
Incidents reported
* 819 marine incidents were reported – 117 of these incidents reported damage to vessels occasioned by cyclones.
* The remaining 702 reported incidents equated to 285 marine incidents per 100,000 registered vessels.
* 48 per cent of the vessels involved in these 702 marine incidents were being used commercially, 47 per cent recreationally and 5 per cent were used in a hire and drive setting.
* The most common incidents were collisions (37 per cent), capsizing, flooding and swamping incidents (18 per cent) and groundings (15 per cent).
* About 1 in 13 of the 702 incidents resulted in a fatality or serious injury.
* 12 fatal marine incidents occurred in 2011 resulting in 14 deaths – 5.7 fatal incidents for every 100,000 registered vessels.
* Capsizing, flooding and swamping incidents represented only 18 per cent of all the incidents reported in 2011 but 36 per cent of the recorded fatal incidents.
Survey questioned
A survey that stated 70 per cent approval for the huge Federal Government marine parks plane has been questioned when links were revealed between the polling company and anti-fishing groups.
The poll by Essential Research has been used by mainstream media while a search reveals what appears to be a sister company is on the Federal Government lobbyist register as representing Australian and foreign anti-fishing groups campaigning to ban recreational fishing in the Coral Sea.
Australian Recreational Fishing Federation spokesman Allan Hansard says it was important that companies conducting polls on topical subjects fully disclose any links they may have with anti-fishing organisations.
Mariner notices
Lindeman Island - Mariners are advised that work has commenced to restore the aids to navigation marking the channel at Lindeman Island resort, The construction will be conducted from the barge 'Alpha Bree' and other vessels should give a wide berth. Access to the channel will be restricted at times.
Bird Island - Mariners are advised that the west cardinal mark light Q (9) 15s 14m 5M on Bird Island, located south of Hayman Island, has been reported to be unlit.
Proserpine River - Mariners are advised that work has to restore the aids 
to navigation marking the entrance to Proserpine River.  AUS charts affected: 250, 251, 824 & 825
"Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made"   - Robert N. Rose
Fair winds to Ye!
Cap'n Dan

Bernie of the Barrier Reef hits the beach

Bernie of the Barrier Reef hits the beach          


While I don't remember exactly when I first met Bernie and Yvonne Katchor, it was about thirty years ago when they had our region's second bare boat company Whitsunday Rent a Yacht.

I do remember the last time I saw the Katchor's 43-foot ketch 'Australia 31' though. My first mate and I were enjoying a drink or two at the Bras d'Or Yacht Club, located in historic Baddeck, on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Eastern Canada.

The barman told us of some visiting Australian yachties and gazing out the bar window past a wealth of nautical memorabilia of the historic club, 'Australia 31' stood out floating serenely on the water of the Bras d'Or Lakes; an inland sea and sailor's paradise.

The Katchor crew was away at the time; however, we left a message for them at the bar, ships passing in the night and all that.

So it was a surprise at the weekend to hear from a shipmate down the Queensland coast that 'Australia 31' was bouncing on the beach about 6km south of Rainbow Beach.

Tin Can Bay Coastguard got the call about 2.30am and dispatched a four-person crew.

Coastguard commander Harley Moss said the crew were all experienced but two of them were badly sea sick, with the skipper reporting the conditions were so bad that "he could not see his hand in front of his face outside as rain and gale force winds tore up the ocean''.

Conditions were such that the Tin Can Bay coastguard boat became stranded during the rescue in rough five-metre seas and wind gusts to 60 knots forcing them to take shelter near Double Island Point.

The would-be rescuers were waiting out the rough conditions in a vessel, which, while well equipped for rescue work, is not fitted out for overnight stays. "They haven't got any real food - a couple of packets of soup and some muesli bars - and they haven't got a stove or any way of heating water," Mr Moss said.

Meanwhile, on the beach Bernie was guarding the yacht they have lived on for twenty years.

"The police came and got my wife and grandson and they've been ringing up to make sure things are okay. They do a good job don't they," Bernie told ABC Radio.

"I'm the nightwatchman till the yacht is on a truck," he added.


Blink of yer eye


There is a fair chance that at the weekend you missed an international event affecting you and all six billion people on earth.

Leapin' lizards! You say. Yes, you missed the 2012 Leap Second.

The last minute of June 30, 2012 UTC was 61 seconds long, the extra second being a "leap second" and took place in Eastern Australia at 10am. Leap seconds are introduced to maintain synchronisation between atomic clocks and more traditional time scales such as Greenwich Mean Time.

These leap seconds are introduced approximately every 18 months, at the end of June or December, usually to give the Earth's rotation a chance to catch up on our clocks.


Gov Dept Dead


The Department of Environment and Resource Management has been declared "dead" by Queensland Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney as he urged activists to stop spouting emotional claims about "environmental Armageddon."

Mr Seeney, who is Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, vowed to empower local councils and encourage investment, while also pledging to ensure environmental protection.

"I don't think we in government should be leveraged to accept lower environmental standards at any time," he said.

Mr Seeney told the Queensland Media Club, "Well, the Office of Climate Change is no more and DERM is dead,"

The new structure includes a Department of Environment and Heritage Protection; a Department of Natural Resources and Mines; and a Department of Natural Parks, Recreation, Sport and Racing.


Know your radio


The ACMA has produced two educational videos for the recreational boating community about how to operate your VHF marine radio correctly. Hook Line and Sinker presenters Nick Duigan and Andrew Hart talk to Marine Rescue volunteer Greg Searle about how to use a VHF marine radio in an emergency and for weather information. Direct link to the online videos 


Honest pirate advice


"It's the honest ones you want to watch out for, because you can never predict when they're going to do something incredibly stupid." Says Captain Jack Sparrow


Fair winds to Ye!

Cap'n Dan



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