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Lessons Learnt: Lock in a buddy plan

by Maritime Safety Victoria 28 Mar 07:05 UTC
Josh - Lock in a buddy plan © Maritime Safety Victoria

Victorian boater Josh was adjusting his fishing rods when he suddenly found himself in the water, watching in disbelief as his boat motored away from him.

He tried to swim after the boat but, weighed down by his clothes, the drag in the water was too much and he couldn't catch it.

"I pulled my lifejacket and swam for what seemed like forever," said Josh.

"My wife knew I was going fishing that's about it. She was eight months pregnant at the time, and I guess I'm lucky that I got to meet my son.

"Based on my experience, my advice is: always tell someone your plans."

Could your land buddy save you?

Boaters and paddlers have a far better chance of rescue in an emergency if they arrange a trigger time for someone on land to call 000.

Maritime Safety Victoria (MSV) Acting Director Cameron Toy said one of the greatest risks to boaters is ending up in the water and being unable to call for help.

"In this situation, you are relying on someone on land to report you missing but we often see cases where the person on land is hesitant to call 000, and they wait until it is nearly dark.

"This makes it much more difficult to carry out a successful rescue."

Boaters should establish a clear emergency plan with a buddy on land, sharing the full details of their trip - including details of their boat or kayak - and agreeing on a time to call emergency services if they haven't returned and can't be reached.

"It is so important to set this trigger time, because if you are in trouble, the sooner the alarm is raised, the sooner a marine search and rescue unit can come to your assistance," said Mr Toy.

MSV has partnered with Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) to remind all boaters to 'Lock in a buddy plan', as part of the boating safety campaign 'Prepare to survive: Know the five'.

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