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Going boating? Lock in a buddy plan


Boaters and paddlers have a far better chance of rescue in an emergency if they arrange a trigger time for someone on land to call 000.


Maritime Safety Victoria (MSV) Acting Director Cameron Toy said one of the greatest risks to boaters is ending up in the water and being unable to call for help.


“In this situation, you are relying on someone on land to report you missing – but we often see cases where the person on land is hesitant to call 000, and they wait until it is nearly dark.


“This makes it much more difficult to carry out a successful rescue.”


Boaters should establish a clear emergency plan with a buddy on land, sharing the full details of their trip, including details of their boat or kayak, and agreeing on a time to call emergency services if they haven’t returned and can’t be reached


“It is so important to set this trigger time, because if you are in trouble, the sooner the alarm is raised, the sooner a marine search and rescue unit can come to your assistance,” said Mr Toy.


MSV is launching a campaign in partnership with Emergency Management Victoria (EMV) today to remind all boaters to ‘Lock in a buddy plan’.


Desperate for help but no one knew


Victorian boater Josh was on a fishing trip when he says he suddenly found himself upside down in the water.


He tried to swim after the boat but, with all of his clothes on, the drag in the water was too much and he couldn’t catch it.


“I grabbed my lifejacket and swam for what seemed like forever,” said Josh.


“My wife knew I was going fishing – that’s about it. She was eight months pregnant at the time, and I guess I’m lucky that I got to meet my son.


“Based on my experience, my advice is: always tell someone your plans.”


‘Lock in a buddy plan’ is part of a series of safety messages in MSV’s new boating safety campaign ‘Prepare to survive: Know the five’.


Watch Josh tell his story and get more advice from EMV and MSV at msv.vic.gov.au/prepare/buddy.


Prepare to survive: Know the five

  • Know the weather
  • Practise getting back on
  • Carry a distress beacon
  • Lock in a buddy plan
  • Wear a lifejacket

“Our ‘Prepare to survive’ campaign is a reminder to all boaters that the more prepared they are, the more likely they are to survive in an incident,” said Mr Toy.


“Anyone can get into trouble on the water, no matter how experienced, and we hope that boaters and paddlers keep our ‘Know the five’ steps top of mind when planning their next trip.”


Find out more at msv.vic.gov.au/prepare.