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Four die on Victorian waterways
The Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association is concerned by the increase in boating-related fatalities after the official boating season. We have had four fatalities in Victorian waters since the Queen's Birthday long weekend.
Our volunteers monitor marine communication networks seven days per week, 12 hours per day, to ensure a listening watch is maintained for vessels that go to sea.
Operators broadcast safety information, relayed from the Bureau of Meteorology. We encourage boat operators to log on and log off with one of our Limited Coast Radio Stations. Information such as intended destination and expected time of arrival contributes significantly to a rescue vessel’s response time if things go wrong.
In 2005, Marine Safety Victoria (MSV) introduced new regulations to enhance safety on our waterways, however, despite our recommendation, MSV neglected to specifically mandate VHF marine radio as compulsory safety equipment with respect to vessels venturing more than 2 nautical miles from shore in coastal waters.
AVCGA believes it should be mandatory to carry a VHF marine radio in enclosed and coastal territorial waters (up to 12 Nm). This aligns with the recent introduction of the Australian Waters Qualification currently being rolled out across the country.
AVCGA is disappointed that two major projects proposed to the government to establish an extensive VHF network have not progressed. Over the past ten years, our volunteers, in partnership with Telstra and CFA, have established radio repeater sites across the state, enabling vessel operators to comply with marine regulations.
Unfortunately, Transport Safety Victoria (Maritime) has failed to promote the network. If vessel operators are not aware that the repeaters are there then the most effective means of ‘raising the alarm’ is not utilised.