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Essential pre-trip check

28 November 2013

As the warmer weather approaches, boat owners are reminded of the importance of pre-trip checks to ensure their boat is ready for the summer season ahead.

When planning a trip the first priority should be to make sure you have undertaken a safety check of your boat to avoid getting caught out when you are on the water, Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) Senior Transport Safety
Compliance Officer, Philip Moffatt said.

The following items should be checked:

• last season’s fuel should be replaced as fuel lines slowly perish when exposed to marine conditions, so make sure you inspect them regularly and have them replaced by a marine mechanic if there is any sign of cracking or wear
• check the battery for fluid levels and ensure that the terminals are corrosion free and are tight and that the battery is fully charged
• if you have a radio, test it by reporting the details of your boat and trip to volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) and if you do ‘log on’ with a VMR group, remember to ‘log off’ when you return
• Check that the engine is working properly and make sure you have the required safety equipment for the area you will be boating - it should be stowed away but easily accessible and in good working order.

"Recently two fishermen from Edithburgh set off for a short fishing trip but got into trouble when the weather changed and they had problems with their engine,” Philip Moffatt said.

"They drifted across Investigator Strait and were found on the north coast of Kangaroo Island."

"The fishermen didn’t have an EPIRB (Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon) on the boat and had to rely on their mobile phones to send text messages to raise the alarm."

"In this instance there was a good outcome and the alarm had been raised, but boaties should not rely on their mobile phones if they get into difficulty."

More information visit

For a free copy of the South Australian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook or the Kayaks and Canoes Safety Reference Guide please telephone 1300 183 046, or email


safety equipment