Guest Comment Mal Pridy

By: Mal Pridy, Photography by: Mal Pridy

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

President of Whitsunday Volunteer Marine Rescue Mal Pridy with a few tips safe for summer boating.



Welcome to Summer!

The good news is that the summer boating season is on us – the bad news for all you boaties down south is that boating here in the Whitsundays never stopped, and we’ve had a magnificent winter with temperatures in the mid-20s and light winds. Before you hit the water after what may have been a few months with your boat stored away, we would like to give you a few tips that may make your boating safer and less stressful this summer.

Make sure your boat is well maintained and ready for the season. Have the engine serviced and checked. It never fails to amaze us that we see people launch their boat, have trouble starting it and still go out for the day. If it’s hard to start the first time, it may not start when you need to come home.

Make sure all of your safety equipment is on board and in good order. Wear life-jackets or PFDs, they can’t save you if they’re in a locker.

If you are not sure what you need to carry, check the Marine Safety website in your state.
Always carry spare fuel – there are no servos out there. Allow enough for your planned trip as well as a 25 per cent reserve in case the weather changes and you are caught out.
Check the weather forecast before you go, and be aware that conditions can change quickly.


Tell someone where you are going and when you are due back, and when to raise an alarm if you are overdue.

Don’t rely on mobile phone coverage if you need assistance – a VHF radio is a much better option and the boatie on VHF in the next bay may be able to assist. Know what channels are in use in your area.

Drink responsibly – remember that the same alcohol limits apply on the water as for the road. Too much alcohol can put you and your passengers or family at risk.

Pay attention to your navigation. If you have a plotter, know how to use it. If you need assistance and give out your GPS position, make sure it is your boat position and not the cursor position – they can be miles apart! Wrong positions are very frustrating for rescue organisations, not to mention possibly dangerous for the vessel seeking assistance.

If you are not a member of your local marine rescue organisation, you should be. Your membership helps us to maintain our service so we are there if you need us – and it may save you having to pay for any assistance. As a member, once you have joined we hope we never see you again – as that means you have generally followed the tips above!

Rescue organisations save lives at sea, and will continue to do so. But responsible, safe boating starts with you, and sometimes we feel we are saving people from themselves. Prepare properly, plan your day, and think safety at all times.

This story was originally published in issue #510 of Trade-a-Boat magazine. Subscribe today for all the latest boat news, reviews and travel inspiration.


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