- boating licence:
- required safety gear for 5-8m family fishing boat (NSW 2004):
- type 1 lifejacket for each person on board - must be worn crossing
- bucket with lanyard (min. capacity 9L)
- fire extinguisher
- anchor with chain/line attached
- sound signal - eg. air horn, whistle
- marine radio (compulsory when 2 nautical miles or more offshore)
- marine radio base stations are located along the coast & many
are strategically located to cover bars or bar areas
- use you radio to log in to one of the radio bases when you are
heading offshore & log off when you return in to port.
- you will need to give your boat registration, number of occupants
aboard, destination, expected time of return and usually your car
- if you have not returned by the expected time, radio contact will
be attempted and if fails a search boat will be sent - make sure if
you are going to be late, the base station is notified of new return
- in NSW, radio frequency is on 27Meg band, usually 27.88 or 27.86.
- EPIRB (highly recommended)
- distress flares (red x2, orange x2) - nb. usually expire after 3yrs
- orange V sheet to signal distress
- fresh drinking water (2L per person)
- map or chart of area
- waterproof torch
- boating off-shore:
- check tides & weather before leaving
- ensure vessel in good order - main causes of breakdown are fuel
shortage or contamination, mechanical failure or battery failure
- ensure boat will be adequate for the expected conditions
- tell someone details of trip (eg. marine radio base station or
- ensure adequate experience on board
- no alcohol
- be aware of alternative ports if it becomes unsafe to re-enter the bar
& ensure adequate fuel to reach it.
- bomboras are areas of dangerous waters, which are created by wave
action, current, &/or tide working on a submerged reef.
- they can create waves high enough to swamp a boat & these waves
may come from an unexpected direction, so one must always keep as good
lookout when near a bombora.
- some bomboras are marked with navigational aids where practical &
are usually noted on the relevant boating map or chart.
- crossing bars:
- stop, look & think before crossing and only do so if 100%
confident of safety
- sand and channels on a bar changes and local knowledge is essential -
observe other vessels crossing, taking note of the line they follow in
& out, where they wait & watch, where they move off to cross the
- use polaroid glasses to pick visible channels indicated by darker
coloured water & lack of breaking waves
- take careful note of navigational aids that may help, particularly
leads that mark the channel.
- an incoming tide is always safer to exit & enter a bar as the
waves are less steep
- ensure boat is operating correctly, esp. throttle & steering
systems, and battery is securely placed
- ensure safety gear is in good shape & accessible
- on water procedure:
- warm up the engine & check everything is running smoothly, do
not attempt crossing if motor is misfiring or not responding quickly
- check the steering & bilge pump
- close all hatches
- secure the anchor - do not leave it in the forward well where it
could become a missile or be catapulted overboard.
- arrange passengers so that the boat is balanced & secure all
- ensure all on board are wearing lifejackets (compulsory in NSW)
and with the exception of the master, remain outside the cabin on
the way out and in.
- with the bar in sight, idle around and check the conditions,
decide on whether or not to proceed
- going out:
- the outgoing boat must meet the energy of the breaking sea, thus
aim to minimise these clashes & make it safer for you and the
- idle towards the breaking waves watching carefully for any lulls,
if a flat period occurs, apply the throttle & run through.
- if the waves keep rolling in, motor to the surf zone & gently
accelerate over the first piece of water, then apply more power and
run to the next wave. Time this carefully, don't go too fast or you
may get airborne on the next wave & lose control of the boat.
- back off the power just before contact with the swell, as you come
through or over the breaker, accelerate again & repeat this
process until clear.
- head for the lowest part of the wave (the saddle). This is the
last part of the wave to break.
- hit a wave face with the power on, the boat can become
airborne or throw the crew into the windscreen, dashboard or
- lose your nerve - once committed, keep going forward. You may
be swamped if you turn around at the last moment
- go through the waves at an angle - either continue straight or
up to 10 degrees either side of dead straight.
- coming in:
- usually easier than going out, however, once mixed up in white
water, the noise & boisterous seas can be a challenge.
- best to choose a run-in tide
- move towards the braking area & pick the line of least
- stay with the leads or channel markers if the breakers obscure
- watch for breakers that may form seaward of you
- once you have the general direction, wait for a big set to roll in
and position boat on nthe back of the wave and stay there. Don't run
down the wave face. Very little can happen if you hold your
- as you approach the actual entrance, an outgoing tide may affect
the boat's speed. maintain power & trim the nose of the boat up
a little, adding power as needed.
- an outgoing tide may also create pressurfe waves near the mouth of
the system. These steep peaks should be handled carefully as they
can destabilise the boat causing it to yaw or broach. Handle
pressure waves by accelerating gently as you come over each wave.