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News from Marine and Safety Tasmania

News from Marine and Safety Tasmania – March 2024 edition


AGFEST is just around the corner. Time to dust off the gumboots and visit MAST staff at the “Tassie Boat Show”, which we are proudly sponsoring once more.

This is the closest we get to a boat show in Tasmania so come along and support our BoatSafe Partners who will be exhibiting this year. You can find us between Main Street and Seventh Avenue.

It’s an ideal opportunity to speak with MAST and our BoatSafe Partners about their products. No doubt there will be some great bargains and we look forward to seeing many boating enthusiasts.

It is always a great atmosphere and the Rural Youth do a fantastic job year after year. We hope to see you between 2-4 May at Quercus Park near Carrick.

Paddle Safety

Every year MAST receives complaints about paddlers on the water without the correct lighting or, in some cases, without any lighting at all. We appreciate those who follow the rules and have the appropriate lighting, as it ensures their visibility to others on the water.

It’s important to have lights when you’re on the water to keep yourself and others safe. If you’re kayaking or canoeing, make sure you have either an all-round white light that can be seen at 360 degrees or a strobe light that can also be seen from all angles.

If you are still rowing a scull, ensure the light combination of strobe light forward and all-round light aft are displayed and remember, if a coach boat is not within 500 metres you must wear a life jacket.

It is also a good idea to put a little reflective tape on the tips of your paddle to increase your visibility. This will help others spot you in case of an emergency. It’s always safest to paddle with a partner or a group and it is also a good idea to carry a phone in a waterproof pouch in case you need to call for help. Be aware of the risks of cold-water immersion and during colder months, dress appropriately to stay warm.

Most importantly, have fun on the water!

Game Fishing

With the settled weather, Autumn is a great time for fishing in Tasmania when many game fish come closer to the coastline, making them more accessible for anglers to catch. This year, the water temperature over the continental shelf has been higher than usual, resulting in the capture of several Striped Marlins on the East Coast. Additionally, Broadbill Swordfish and Bluefin Tuna of various sizes have been caught.

Tournaments and competitions are held each game fishing season by various clubs around the state. This year Tasmania will host the Australian International Billfish Tournament from 6-19 April. This event will be held along the entire east coast of Tasmania, from Banks Strait to Tasman Island and will utilise marine facilities at St Helens, Bicheno, Triabunna and Pirates Bay. Competing boats are expected to be mostly Tasmanian, with some mainland entrants as well.

Last year, MAST staff member Storm Eastley and his friend Jonah Yick landed a Swordfish weighing 289 kg off the shelf east of Pirates Bay. A huge effort and a big fish!

Storm Eastley and Jonah Yick

Good luck to all the competitors from everyone at MAST.

Facility Upgrades

The works at Musselroe Bay, which included replacing four pieces of flex mat, were finished in time for the Easter break. Access to Musselroe has significantly improved since MAST was initially approached to assess the situation back in 2003. You can compare the before and after pictures to see the transformation.

Work on the Penguin low water ramp is nearing completion. The first concrete pour has occurred and the remaining work is expected to be completed in mid-April when the low tides are suitable.

Meanwhile, the in-water work on the extension of Freemans Jetty at Coles Bay will begin soon. Most of the components have already been made, so the process should be relatively quick once the piling is completed.

The work at Eddystone Point is also scheduled to start in the upcoming weeks and the access improvement at Little Pine Lagoon is well underway and completion is imminent.

Musselroe Bay – 2003

Musselroe Bay – 2024

Drinking and Boating

It is important to remember that if you plan on having a few drinks while out on the boat, skippers must ensure their blood alcohol level stays under 0.05. The Marine Safety (Misuse of Alcohol) Act 2006 is administered by Tasmania Police.