Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius FBW Comprehensive 728x90

Maritime Safety Victoria is urging boaters to carry a distress beacon

by Maritime Safety Victoria 9 Feb 04:54 UTC
Prepare to survive: Carry a distress beacon © Coast Guard St Kilda

Throughout February, Maritime Safety Victoria (Australia) is urging boaters to carry a distress beacon as part of our 'Prepare to survive' campaign.

"Time is of the essence in an emergency scenario - you must raise the alarm as quickly as possible for a chance to survive," said Cameron Toy, Director, Maritime Safety.

Your lifejacket will help keep you afloat, but Victorian waters are cold year-round so you'll want to get out quickly.

If you end up in cold Victorian waters you will generally have:

  • One minute to get your breathing under control and keep your head out of the water
  • 10-20 minutes of useful movement in which to get out of the water to prepare for rescue
  • One to three hours before you become unconscious due to hypothermia.

Activating a GPS-enabled emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) alerts rescuers to your distress and allows them to pinpoint your location - so they can get to you much faster.

"While you're only required to carry an approved 406 MHz EPIRB when heading more than two nautical miles from the coast, they are your best bet for getting help - so take it every time you're out on the water," said Mr Toy.

Personal locater beacons

A personal locater beacon (PLB) does not meet the EPIRB requirements for coastal waters but is a handy bit of extra kit to have at hand on any waterway, especially if you enter the water and can't get to your EPIRB. PLBs tend to be smaller and more lightweight, so they can also be used for other outdoor activities like four-wheel driving and bushwalking.

Want to win a beacon? Follow Maritime Safety Victoria on Facebook and enter one of February quizzes.

Related Articles

Learn how to cross a bar
One of the most dangerous boating activities Two fishers were ejected from their boat crossing Barwon Heads in January. Always consider how to cross bars and Port Phillip Heads at the best time. Avoid low tide, at the end of an ebb with a swell running which can produce breaking waves. Posted on 7 Feb
An empty boat ramp car park may be a warning
What does it mean if the car park at a boat ramp is empty? It could mean everyone has checked the weather and decided it is too dangerous to go out. Posted on 2 Nov 2019
Lessons Learnt: Invisible poison
A group of boaters on the Yarra River suddenly found themselves feeling nauseous On the eve of Grand Final Friday in 2019 an enthusiastic owner prepared his 42ft sports cruiser for a trip up the Yarra and an overnight stay on board. Posted on 1 Nov 2019
Safety Warning: Check your sealed decks
Unseen issues can cause capsizes Maritime Safety Victoria (MSV) technical experts outline the features of sealed decks and how they should work. If you have a small boat with a deck that is intended to be watertight, there are a number of issues to look out for. Posted on 28 Mar 2019
Lessons Learnt: Lock in a buddy plan
Watch and read about Victorian boater Josh's experience 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. Posted on 28 Mar 2019
Safety Alert: Navigation lights
TSV and Victoria Police are encountering vessels that have lights installed incorrectly There have been recent collisions directly attributable to the incorrect placement of navigation lights and /or vessels displaying navigation lights that do not comply with the Marine Safety Regulations 2012 (Vic) (MSR). Posted on 14 Feb 2019
Look out for changing conditions
A rapid drop in temperature can drastically alter conditions on the water This summer, Victoria has experienced a series of hot, dry days followed by a rapid cool change. These are conditions that create periods of high fire danger on land, but can also result in a serious risk to vessel operators. Posted on 14 Feb 2019
Engine pod breaks from transom
Highlighting the importance of thorough boat maintenance A couple of keen fishers were heading home after a morning on the water when the outboard motor pod failed, slewing the motor to the starboard side and spinning the boat 180 degrees. Posted on 21 Jan 2019
Lessons Learnt: When weather turns deadly
Looking at the first 'Prepare to survive' campaign message Victorian boater Max says he's witnessed weather having fatal consequences. As a child, Max was fishing with his dad off South Werribee in Port Phillip Bay, when his dad spotted a huge storm front coming in from Geelong. Posted on 9 Dec 2018
Prepare to survive: Know the five
New boating safety campaign in Victoria, Australia The campaign encourages people heading out on the water to prepare - because ending up in Victorian waters, which remain cool year-round, is one of the greatest risks to the safety of boaters and paddlers. Posted on 8 Dec 2018
Marina Exchange FOOTER 1Raymarine AUS Element HV FOOTER