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Check your safety equipment


A reminder to all Boaties to check your safety equipment on a regular basis, as follows:

  • Responsible skippers should ensure safety equipment is well maintained and accessible.

  • That passengers know where it is stowed, how to use it and when to use it.

  • In an emergency on the water, properly functioning safety equipment can be the key to survival and there can be tragic consequences if it isn’t in good working order.

The quantity and type of equipment varies depending on how far offshore you travel and it is important to understand that these are minimum requirements.

Check your safety equipment expiry dates. Safety gear with an expiry date includes flares, EPIRBs, fire extinguishers and inflatable life jackets. Don’t let safety equipment expire. Set a reminder for it to be checked and replaced if necessary by:

  • Putting the dates in your diary.

  • Putting the dates in your mobile phone.

  • Write it on the Department of Transport’s “Don’t Expire” sticker and place on your boat.

Distress Flares:

Your flares must be maintained in serviceable condition at all times and within their expiry date. Check them regularly to ensure they have not been rendered unserviceable by exposure to moisture. Mildew, or bubbling of paper coatings may indicate this. Additional to your new in-date flares, you may wish to keep out of date flares on board but only if they are in good condition. Distress flares need to be kept dry and accessible (use a waterproof container that will float).

Unauthorised use of Flares:

There are severe penalties for the improper use of flares. Flares have a very serious purpose. Falsely indicating distress rightly carries a severe penalty, but it also wastes a lot of time and resources – possibly weakening the ability to respond to a genuine emergency. Do not leave flares in your vessel when it is not in use and keep them away from children.


Electronic Position Indicating Radio Beacons (EPIRBs) have expiry dates. To be an acceptable safety item, your unit must be serviced by the manufacturer / agent before that date. The service will include replacement of the battery. The manufacturer / agent will provide a new expiry date once the unit has been serviced. EPIRBs must also be in current registration with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). These registrations expire every two years and need to be updated then or at the time of owner transfer.

Do not discard unserviceable or out of date EPIRBs or Flares in general rubbish or land fill. Hand them in to Marine Rescue Jurien Bay and we will organise correct disposal for you. We are located in Breakwater Drive – head down to the Marina past the car park and launching ramps and drive to the end of the road.

Fire Extinguishers:

All fire extinguishers should be inspected at least every six months. All extinguishers, other than carbon dioxide, have a pressure gauge indicating their state of charge and a security seal on the trigger. They should be recharged if the seal is broken or the gauge is not in the green sector. Tap the gauge lightly to check the needle is not stuck.

Inflatable Life Jackets:

These are becoming increasingly popular. You should check the condition of all life jackets periodically. Check for cuts and tears that could let water enter the jacket and rot the buoyant material. Check that the tabs are in good condition and not frayed. It is important that inflatable jackets are regularly serviced as instructed by the manufacturer.

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