Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) is calling on boaters to focus on safety this snapper fishing season.

Figures from Victoria’s maritime safety regulator show that in 2014-15, there were 1,353 incidents, which resulted in 10 fatalities and 26 serious injuries. The majority of incidents were vessel disablements.

TSV’s Acting Director, Maritime Safety, Adrian Mnew, has urged fishermen to check their vessels and their safety equipment before venturing out for the first time in several months.

“The snapper season traditionally marks the start of the Victorian boating season and we typically see a spike in the number of vessels broken down due to lack of maintenance and preparation. Before you head out, do some simple things like:

  • Replacing stale fuel ensuring that batteries are fully charged
  • Having all the correct safety equipment, such as lifejackets, flares and fire extinguishers, on board, up to date and in good working condition.

“These breakdowns can result in a dangerous situation. Already this financial year, there have been 67 incidents including one fatality, two serious injuries and 52 disablements,” Mr Mnew said.

Being visible and staying well clear of ships should be a priority when underway.

“While the days are getting longer, fishing in the morning at this time of year often means heading onto the water before daylight.

“To avoid colliding with other vessels, you must ensure your boat displays the correct combination of lights when underway and displays an all-round white light when anchored.

“If you’re fishing in Port Phillip Bay, remember that you cannot anchor in shipping channels or fairways and should always stay well clear of ships,” Mr Mnew said.