BOATIES are being urged to exercise extreme caution this Easter long weekend as the effects of two tropical ex-cyclones continue to be felt right along the Queensland coastline.
Ex-tropical Cyclone Nora is expected to continue weakening while ex-tropical Cyclone Iris tracks slowly north-west into the Coral Sea.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the two systems will make conditions extremely dangerous for boaties from Cooktown in the north down to Coolangatta in the south.
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“Southeasterly winds will freshen south of Cooktown during the next few days while the central and south east coast will see strong south-easterly winds bringing hazardous surf and treacherous conditions on coastal bars,” Mr Bailey said.
“This will create extremely dangerous conditions for boaties and anyone going near the affected coastline or waterways.
“With Easter also upon us, boaties need to keep a close eye on the weather as the change of the seasons is always a time when conditions can deteriorate very quickly.
“It is also especially important boaties in the southern part of the State be aware of bar conditions and exercise extreme care.”
Mr Bailey urged boaties to reconsider planned activities until the weather improved in impacted areas, to check before heading out, and keep checking while on the water.
“But most importantly, if in doubt – don’t go out,” Mr Bailey said.
“If you are on the water have an alternative plan to reach shelter if you can’t get back to your usual mooring or boat ramp and ensure you have enough fuel to get there.
“Be prepared for sudden unexpected weather changes and at the first sign of deteriorating conditions make sure everyone on board is wearing a lifejacket.
“Always let someone such as your local volunteer rescue group know when you’re leaving and when you’re due back.”
Mr Bailey said Maritime Safety Queensland encouraged boaties, especially children, to wear lifejackets whenever they saw a heightened risk such as bad weather, poor visibility or when in busy boating lanes.
“If you aren’t wearing a lifejacket make sure there is one available for everyone, they know where it is, and how to put it on,” he said.
“And make sure they’re up to date and properly serviced.”
Boats and PWCs operating beyond smooth and partially smooth waters must carry an EPIRB when more than two nautical miles from land.
“Remember, responsible skippers keep flares and EPIRBs in good condition, accessible at all times with clear signs where safety equipment is kept,” Mr Bailey said.
“Make sure you know how to use flares and EPIRBs before you go out on your boat so you’re ready in an emergency and check expiry dates on safety equipment regularly.”
Check with local Maritime Safety Queensland office, Queensland Water Police or local marine rescue organisations to ensure you meet safety requirements or visit www.msq.qld.gov.au