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Home Uncategorized Offshore safety – preperation is key.

Offshore safety – preperation is key.

Preparation is key to offshore safety. The plan must be fine-tuned to the most minute detail. Your equipment must be planned, checked, orderly and checked once again. Offshore boating is a different game. Faced with a myriad of variables you have not encountered fishing inshore; one must expect the unexpected. Your pre-game preparation will determine whether you are at the mercy of the sea or whether you maintain control and potentially catch the fish of a lifetime.

Winter is the best time to prepare your boat and yourself for future offshore fishing trips. A number of steps will ensure the safety of your boat and that you are properly equipped. Let us guide you in your early preparations to ensure your offshore safety. Perhaps it is your first time or perhaps it has been a while and a refresher never hurt anyone.


The boat

A suitable boat is the first item on the checklist. A new bigger boat built for purpose probably means you are all set in this department. If you have a trailerable boat, there are a number of considerations. It needs to have a deep-vee hull with relatively high freeboard and a cabin. A windscreen and cabin canopy are recommended, although not as vital as the previously mentioned specifications. If you are unsure, then check in with an expert.

Every year, your boat should be inspected for seaworthiness. Winter is the perfect time to send your boat off for a proper service. Specifically, you need to check hull fittings, especially any bungs, and inspect the engine for leaks or loose piping or wiring. The steering system needs to be checked out. Inspect any free running in mechanical systems or leaks in hydraulic systems.


Offshore safety

Contender 25 Tournament offshore


Your equipment

Preparing your equipment and supplies is also a big item you can check off in the off season.

Your toolbox should be equipped with the following: spare fuses, spare fuel filter (if applicable), a knife, de-watering fluid, silicone amalgamation tape and electrical tape, plus your standard tools. Pack weatherproof clothing, and enough food and water for a few days. I would recommend fitting a dual battery system. This way you can run your accessories off one battery and leave the other fully charged to start your engine. Test your lights and radio. The mandatory and recommended safety equipment for offshore boating differs from state to state. Check with the marine authority for your state.



When you are planning your first big trip offshore, then the first step is to prepare a navigation plan. With an idea in mind of where you want to go, refer to a chart to look for potential dangers. Check shipping areas, marine parks and restricted areas. Then mark the positions for GPS waypoints. Here you will identify landmarks and alternative havens if things do not go to plan. Write down distances and compass courses for reference during the trip. This will also assist in calculating fuel consumption.

Fuel is a vital consideration. Please take enough of it. You can calculate the fuel needed by determining the total distance of your trip and then checking the fuel consumption data for your boat. How many people are you taking out? How heavy is the load? What speed do you want to travel at? Sea conditions will also affect fuel consumption. After you have calculated your consumption, add a third of the fuel again as reserve. It is not recommended you carry spare jerry cans of fuel on board.


Technical assistance

There are loads of specialised tools to assist you in predicting and keeping an eye on the weather. The Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) specialised maritime forecasts and its interactive forecast tool MetEye are key. There are also conditions forecasts available on the Club Marine App or ask a volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) for local weather knowledge. Do not forget to check for tides, especially if crossing a bar.

Like for all adventurers, the best advice Mum ever gave was to tell someone where you are going. Share your plan with family or friends and let them know when you expect to be back. Log on and off with the local VMR. Inform yourself about radio repeater networks. Learn how flares and EPIRBs are activated in advance. Also, brief your fellow passengers on what you expect from them in an emergency situation and inform everyone where all your safety equipment etc is on the vessel.


Heading offshore is an exciting prospect and an exhilarating experience. With some careful planning, you will ensure that your next level fishing adventure is both fruitful and safe.

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