28 April 2021

The sad death of a young sailor in 2019 has resulted in a recent coroner’s recommendation that all boaters – especially those going solo – prepare for the worst.

Experienced sailor Ehren Hyde, 24, was found drowned two days after setting out on Port Phillip.

The coroner found Ehren had all the required safety gear onboard but a change in weather may have caused him to be separated from his off the beach sailing vessel.

He was wearing a lifejacket but did not have a mobile phone or distress beacon to hand.

The coroner has asked us to further promote the importance of preparation for anyone heading out on the water, with a particular focus on carrying a distress beacon.

Distress beacons

All recreational vessels heading out more than two nautical miles from the coast are required to carry an approved 406 Mhz emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB). However, we recommend that all vessels carry a GPS-enabled EPIRB.

Paddlers and solo boaters could wear the smaller personal locator beacon (PLB) on their lifejacket. Note that PLBs are not considered a substitute for EPIRBs when heading more than 2nm offshore on coastal waters.

Learn more: Carry a distress beacon

Let someone know

We also encourage boaters to ‘lock in a buddy plan’ – let someone on land know your trip details, in the event you can’t raise the alarm yourself.

Learn more: Lock in a buddy plan

We join the coroner in conveying sincere condolences to Ehren’s loved ones. We share his story to help boaters stop and think about how they can stay safe on the water.