Boaties to learn from the past

BOATING is a huge part of the Whitsundays and is often referred to as one of the sailing capitals of the country.

Whether Whitsunday residents own their own boat or not, they are affected by the industry as many tourism operators in the region are part of the boating sector.

Mackay regional harbour master captain Fainol Ahmad is responsible for the entire Whitsunday region and said it was important that all boat owners in the Whitsundays learned from the events of Cyclone Ului to ensure the damage to their own yachts and entire industry are kept to a minimum.

“My advice is to ensure boat owners have a look at safety equipment and keep up with all weather forecasts,” he said.

“Also if they are at sea it is important for them to tune in to their radios.

“Basically if we are under threat from a cyclone, the message is ‘don't go out'.”

Preparing your boat

To prepare for storm activity boat operators should:

Use suitable rope to secure your vessel as it

  • Has more ‘give' than chain.
  • Double up on mooring lines and check that they are sound and the right size.
  • Check that all boat cleats and other mooring fittings are secure and consider adding anti-chafing gear to mooring/anchor lines.
  • Store all loose gear such as boat hooks, buckets, fishing tackle floats and life rings below deck.
  • Remove all deck furniture. Secure hatches.
  • Reduce wind loading to a minimum and remove furled sails and covers.
  • If possible, remove bimini covers and roll up or remove any clears around the vessel.
  • Deflate and store inflatable dinghies.
  • Disconnect shore power leads and water hoses.
  • Check all bilge pumps are operational and ensure all self draining openings are clear.
  • Leave contact details onboard your vessel so that emergency services can contact you if your vessel becomes adrift.
  • Ensure that your insurance policy is current.

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