Thursday, August 24, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Boating News

Tips on navigating safely

• Visibility: Operate slowly in rain, fog, mist, smoke and glare. Take special care when travelling at night as potential hazards are harder to see. Ensure you operate at a safe speed.

• Other boats: Slow down in busy areas and when near moored or anchored boats, and remember — working boats and larger vessels may have difficulty manoeuvring.

• Navigation hazards: Slow down in shallow areas and when boating in unfamiliar water. Water depth can vary and change quickly in and around reef areas, and also in freshwater.

• Wind, waves and currents: These may affect the boat’s stopping and turning ability. The type of motor, hull and design will all impact on the boat’s manoeuvrability.

• Check your navigation lights are working and fitted correctly. We did have to assist one boat this year with the nav lights on the wrong sides! Did not know if he was coming or going!

Collision rules: The ‘International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea’ (COLREGs) are the traffic laws of the sea. They give clear indication about passing, approaching, giving way and overtaking to avoid collisions with other boats. All boat skippers must thoroughly understand and apply the rules in all situations.

Channels: When navigating in narrow channels, all boats should travel on the starboard or right-hand side of the channel and pass oncoming boats on the port side. If plenty of distance separates two passing boats, there’s no need to deliberately alter course to pass to the right of the other boat. The rule is simply there to remove doubt in the event of a close situation. Small boats (including sailing boats) should keep clear of large boats that have limited room to manoeuvre in channels.

Giving way: All boats, whether power or sail, must always take action to avoid a collision. Power boats ‘Look all around, give way to the right, turn to the right and stay to the right’.

Head on: When meeting head on, both boats are required to alter course to starboard (right), never to port (left). Any turn should be large enough to be obvious to the other boat.

Overtaking: If you are overtaking a boat, you can do so to either side of the boat you wish to pass.

However, you must keep well clear of the boat you are overtaking. This applies to both sail and powerboats. In narrow channels you must be particularly careful when overtaking. In all instances, make sure you do not cut in front of the boat you have overtaken.

VMRW membership is cheap insurance at just $90. You can join online at .

Activations keep on rolling on, and we are running at the same record level as last year at this stage.

Contributed with thanks to Mal Priday.

1: Don’t be a fool, follow the rules and avoid costly errors

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