CHECKING the weather before heading out on the water is standard for most Victorian boaters, but many don’t realise that one check is not enough.
Maritime Safety Victoria (MSV) has partnered with the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) to encourage boaters and paddlers to know the weather for their whole trip.
“Conditions on the water can change incredibly quickly,” maritime safety director Rachel Gualano said.
“It is so important that boaters don’t become complacent about checking the weather while they are out there.”
BOM offers a range of tools for marine weather. Head to bom.gov.au/marine for the Coastal Waters and Local Waters forecasts, and use BOM’s MetEye tool to help you assess localised wind and wave conditions for three, six and nine hours ahead.
Boaters can also check for updates on the BOM Weather app, and listen to marine weather reports on VHF marine radio channels 16 and 67 – broadcast via Marine Radio Victoria.
Ms Gualano said one of the greatest risks toboaters and paddlers was unexpectedly entering the water and then not being able to get back onto their vessel or to call for help.
Victorian boater Max says he has 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. Dad said: ‘We are heading back in, and quickly’.
“As we did, we passed a bigger boat that was heading out and dad told them to turn around and head for home. They completely ignored (him).”
Later that night, Max and his dad saw on the news that the boat they had seen was missing. Of the six people on board, only one survivor was found.
“We were the last people to see them alive,” Max said.
“I have never forgotten that incident and whenever I head out, I always have the latest weather updates, VHF radio on,
EPIRB (emergency position indicating radio beacon) ready and everyone is wearing a lifejacket.”
Watch Max tell his story, and get more advice from BOM and MSV, at msv.vic.gov.au/prepare/weather.