Boating Safety

Notice To mariners

A Notice to mariners provides information on hazards and changes to navigation in the South Australian waters including the River Murray. A particular Notice is advertised once in a daily newspaper – The Advertiser. Notices are also published in the South Australian Government Gazette.

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Reporting An Accident

A boating accident must be reported to the authorities unless the damage to the recreational vessel is less than $300 and there are no injuries requiring medical attention. For more details please refer to the SA Transport Web Page.

Man Overboard!

by Colin Hill, Master mariner

A cry that nobody wants to hear but it can and does happen. I heard it in the middle of the Pacific when I was navigating officer on a ship, we never found the man.If a person fell overboard from your boat could they get back aboard without assistance or even with the assistance of someone who perhaps is not strong enough? Of course if the person were fully clothed, especially in winter, the problem would be worse.  Furthermore if you were underway when the person fell overboard would those still aboard know what action to take?

What is your situation; does your boat have a high freeboard making re-boarding difficult? Does it have a permanent overboard ladder or swim platform onto which one could climb or anything else which would enable a person, unassisted, to get back aboard your boat?  If it does not, would you or your crew be capable of pulling a, possibly fully clothed, person back on board.

If you cannot or do not want to install a permanent re-boarding device there is a simple and economical solution. Secure a rope ladder over the stern that is long enough to reach about ½ a meter into the water. Roll it up from the bottom so that it is about ¼ meter above the water and secure the roll with wool ties. This will enable the person in the water to reach the ladder, pull down on it, break the wool ties and climb back on board. If the boat is underway when the person falls overboard there are number of recommended actions that should be taken.

  • To prevent the boat causing injury: If the person falls from forward of the stern, put the engine into neutral.
  • Put the helm over to the same side as that from which the person fell. This will swing the stern away from the person in the water.

  To retrieve the person from the water.

  • Throw a flotation device to the person, a life buoy or life jacket.
  • Maneuver the boat to pick up the person, approaching them into the wind or current so that you don’t drift over the top of them.
  • It is suggested that you throw them a line so that they do not drift away and they can pull themselves towards the boat.

Of course if you are alone on a boat which is underway the above won’t be relevant, so just never put yourself in a position where there is any risk of falling overboard. If you must, wear a life-jacket.

Welding Safety

Fuel vapour is heavier than air and highly explosive. This means that it can collect in enclosed spaces such as bilges. Extreme caution should be taken if you intend welding in a confined space Any areas such as bilges or pontoons should be thoroughly ventilated to remove any vapours before welding or other activities are undertaken. Do not place a fan in such areas to blow the vapours out as the fan may cause a spark.

In the interests of safety we highly recommend that you employ a professional if welding a fuel tank or if welding in a confined space is required.

Please review SafeworkSA welding code of practice at

Join the RMBOA

Why Join

We work toward protecting the River Murray and its environs.

The RMBOA communicate with members and boat owners by keeping them informed of relevant developments.

The RMBOA provides you with a link to governments and other relevant organisations for your benefit.

We arrange, manage and co-ordinate functions of recreation, education and conservation surrounding the river

Meet new people and catch up with old friends when you join us on our river rambles.