Marine Rescue NSW units along the coast have been experiencing the annual Spring spike in boating breakdowns as skippers launch their boats for the first time after the winter layoff.
Marine Rescue Commissioner Stacey Tannos warned the rate of breakdowns was set to escalate over the coming long weekend as boat owners made the most of the warmer weather over the three day break by taking to the water again.
'Every holiday weekend some skippers discover, to their dismay, that something on their boat or trailer doesn’t function as expected,' he said.
'The October long weekend is the traditional start to the boating season in NSW and I urge skippers to check over their boats and get essential maintenance done before they take their family or friends out on the water.'
Marine Rescue NSW statistics show that mechanical breakdowns are the cause of more calls for help than any other reason.
'Sometimes the cause is faulty fuel in the outboard fuel tank. This can easily be avoided by replacing any old fuel left in the tank with clean new fuel. Sometimes it’s an electrical failure that could have been avoided with a simple service of the battery and keeping terminals clean,' Commissioner Tannos said.
'Most mechanical breakdowns are avoidable with simple maintenance of the boat before launching or starting the engine after weeks or months lying idle,' Commissioner Tannos said. 'Often a worn trailer bearing will see a boat parked by the side of the road instead of at the launching ramp.'
'Boats, like cars, need regular servicing and maintenance checks and I would ask all boaters to prepare their boat properly before launching – especially if it has not been used for a while.'
Marine Rescue NSW recommends the 50 Point Safety Check offered by members of the NSW Boating Industry Association. An expert check can help ensure a trouble-free boating season. Find your nearest authorised provider at http://www.50pointcheck.com.au/
Smart skippers will also Log On with their local Marine Rescue base each time they go out so they stay in the Marine Rescue Safety Net.
'Logging on ensures that Marine Rescue will keep a safety watch on you. It also lets you know your radio is operating properly – and Logging Off when you return ensures Marine Rescue knows you’re back safely,' Commissioner Tannos said.
Marine Rescue NSW joins with its partners in safety, NSW Maritime and the NSW Boating Industry Association, to help you enjoy better, safer holiday boating.