Boaties urged to be aware of powerlines and underwater cables

Published: 8 Jan 2020 3:56pm

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Ergon Energy and the Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) have joined forces urging boaties to be aware of overhead powerlines and submarine power cables crossing Queensland’s waterways.

The call comes after Bribie Island VMR crews rescued a yachtie on the weekend whose boat anchor caught a 11,000-volt underwater cable.

The yachtie came close to damaging the high-voltage cable and, if wasn’t for the quick thinking of the VMR crew who cut the anchor chain loose, the situation could have easily turned deadly.

Ergon’s Safety Advisor Kevin Hore said overhead powerlines and submarine cables crossing the state’s waterways can carry enough electricity to run entire suburbs.

“Some of these cables and powerlines can transmit up to 132,000 volts and, if hit, can cause very serious damage to boats or even kill someone onboard instantly,” he said.

“If the worse does occur and a boatie does become hooked up on overhead powerlines or underwater cables they should keep as far away as possible from the section of boat touching the powerline or cable and call Triple Zero or radio the VMR or Coast Guard immediately.”

Bribie Island VMR Commodore Liz Radajewski said boaties should always remain aware of what is above and under their craft when sailing down all waterways.

“Those with yachts should always keep a visual for any overhead wires while sailing on rivers to ensure their masts don’t come in contact with them,” she said.

“Similarly, masts on trailer sailors should be lowered when pulling the boat up the ramp to prevent them contacting powerlines.

“Also when dropping anchor, boat owners should always look for signs on the banks that mark the location of underwater services to ensure they don’t end up snagged on, damaging or even pulling up high voltage cables when retrieving their anchor.”

Ms Radajewski also said before any boaties head out to ensure the vessel and motor are in excellent working condition, they have more than enough fuel and right safety equipment and to use the VMR or Coast Guard’s log on and off service.

If boat owners do find themselves in difficulty of any sort they are urged to phone Triple Zero and ask for police who will dispatch the closest rescue vessel or contact their local VMR or Coast Guard via phone or two way radio.

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Electric cables warning sign at Bribie