Don’t get caught out in an emergency this tuna season

Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) is reminding those who plan to head offshore for the tuna fishing season to have an appropriate emergency procedure plan, following the recent rescue of four tuna fishermen from their sinking vessel off Portland.

This latest incident adds to the 20 coastal offshore vessel disablements already reported across the state between 1 July 2012 and 31 March 2013.

TSV spokesperson, Paul Corkill, said Victoria’s tuna season was a popular event on the fishing calendar, particularly in south western Victoria, and warned that there were risks that boaters needed to be aware of and prepared for.

“Developing an emergency procedure plan before heading offshore and knowing what steps to take in case of an emergency can be the difference between life and death,” Mr Corkill said.

“It is critically important that you have access to radio communication, flares and a registered emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) as a means of raising the alarm.

“When out on the water, it is strongly recommended that you wear an approved life jacket at all times and carry all other necessary safety equipment onboard,” Mr Corkill said.

“Tuna are known to be found as far as 25 nautical miles offshore so boaters need to be aware that the safety equipment requirements are different for offshore boating.

EPIRBs must be registered with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to assist with identifying the owner of the boat.

Boaters are also strongly advised to travel in groups so that there is someone nearby to help out in an emergency