By using this checklist, or one you prepare yourself, you will be sure that everything is onboard and in good working order before you put to sea.
- Prepare a Voyage Plan – tell someone where you are going and when you expect to get back. Better still, as you leave the dock or mooring ‘log-on’ by radio with Marine Rescue Central Coast (or your local unit).
- Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) – ensure you have one lifejacket of the appropriate size for each person on board. PFDs must be in good condition, must be readily accessible and large (or small) enough to fit crew and passengers. Show visitors where PFDs are stored and how to use them. If you take your dog to sea with you don’t forget it needs a PFD also. Specially made PFD’s for animals are available.
- Fire Extinguisher(s) – if you carry fuel onboard you must have at least one fully charged fire extinguisher that is readily accessible.
- Distress Flares – be sure they are in date, of the correct type, and readily accessible. Read the instructions so you know how to use them in an emergency.
- Anchor(s) chain and Line – be sure you have the type suitable for seabed conditions in the area where you operate. Ensure you have some chain and sufficient length of line for water depth. You must secure the bitter-end of the line (the end of the rope) to the vessel.
- Bilge Pump – an electric bilge pump is desirable but you should have an alternative method available.
- Navigation Lights – test the lights regularly, have spare bulbs ‘in case’ and use in poor visibility and after sunset.
- Battery – keep your battery fully charged, and be sure it is securely fastened down.
- Alternate Propulsion – carry an auxiliary motor, oars or paddles to use if the engine fails.
- Compass – a must especially if you are going ‘offshore’.
- First Aid Kit – you can buy a commercial kit or make up your own.
- Marine Radio – mandatory if you go more than two miles offshore, however is a ‘must have’ for ‘logging on’ with a marine coast station and is useful for obtaining updates on weather or calling for assistance even in estuaries or navigable rivers.
- GPS – a GPS ensures you know where you are at all times, great for going back to a ‘special’ fishing spot or to notify your location in an emergency.
- Type 406 EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) A Type 406 EPIRB is an alerting and locating device that is compulsory equipment for all vessels operating more than 2 nautical miles offshore. It is recommended for all vessels operating in remote locations or areas / times of high risk. EPIRBs should be accessible but stowed to avoid accidental activation. DO NOT stow your EPIRB in a locker. EPIRBs are battery operated and should be tested regularly following the manufactures instructions.Each EPIRB must be registered with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority and have its registration sticker affixed.All crew and family should be made aware of the location of the EPIRB, its function, and action to be taken in an emergency.
- Toolkit – suitable for minor repairs appropriate to your vessel type. Carry some simple spares for the motor as well.
- Sharp Knife – don’t rely on your trusty old fishing knife. You may be on a family outing without the fishing gear onboard.
This checklist is an example of the items you need to carry. Check with your local NSW Maritime Authority Office or Marine Rescue unit for details of mandatory safety equipment for enclosed and open waters in NSW.