Queensland boaties urged to prepare

Queensland boaties should be prepared for heavy rain, high winds and dangerous surf expected in the wake of ex-cyclone Owen from today.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said strong wind warnings had been issued for the coast along Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Capricornia Coast, Hervey Bay and Fraser Island.

“With the arrival of the weekend and school holidays, families will be keen to get out on the water as soon as possible but responsible skippers should be carefully considering their plans,” Mr Bailey said.

“Post-cyclonic weather has created a serious risk to safe navigation which could include missing or relocated navigation aids, changed depths, stronger currents and submerged hazards.

“I urge boaties to keep a proper lookout at all times, operate at reduced speeds and avoid boating at night.

“Even with the passing of the severe weather system, conditions could still be unstable.

“Large seas will make offshore boating unsafe and this is especially critical at bar crossings.

“If you do, head out let your local volunteer rescue group know when you’re leaving and when you’re due back and leave contact details.”

Mr Bailey said boaties should make sure there was a lifejacket for everyone on board and everyone knew where they were and how to put them on in an emergency.

“Check that all safety equipment is up to date, be prepared for sudden unexpected weather changes, and at the first sign of deteriorating weather, make sure everyone on board is wearing a lifejacket,” Mr Bailey said.

“Have an alternative plan to reach shelter if you can’t get back to your usual mooring or boat ramp and ensure you have enough fuel to get there.

“Importantly, the prospect of heavy rains raises another risk for boaties of carbon monoxide build-up.

“Make sure that you have good ventilation throughout the vessel when underway to avoid the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“This odourless, deadly gas can easily build up if clears are down due to wet weather.

“Check the weather before heading out and keep checking while on the water.

“But most importantly, if in doubt – don’t go out.”

More information about preparing for severe weather is available on Maritime Safety Queensland’s web site www.msq.qld.gov.au

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