Solo safety at sea

 Hello all.

Let's be brutally honest here.

Over the last fortnight two people have lost their lives after boats have been found running with no occupants on board. This has given me a wake up call as I fish solo 90% of the time in a pretty remote part of the country. I've been pathetic with my safety and the only thing I've been doing is letting my wife know where I'm going and when I'm due back. Theres no log on log off on Thursday Island so it's up to you to work out your own plans for someone to send out a search party if you don't get home at the said time and log off.

As for my onboard safety I've been a fool.

No life jacket has been worn and I spend a fair bit of time down the back of the boat leaving the helm unattended with no safety lanyard on whilst setting lure spreads with a boat travelling at a good six knots.

Sounds pretty stupid yeah?. 
Yep. Let's make that fucking stupid.
One slight fuckup and I'm over the side soon to be a dead man no doubts about it, plain and simple. As I'm sitting in the water watching my boat head off to PNG without me I'll be thinking if the Tiger sharks don't get me then the crocs will, failing that I'll drown because there's no way I can swim against a five knot tidal current to an island I can just make out on the horizon.

Here's my new plan for better boating safety starting tomorrow morning.

Wear a good AUTO INFLATING life jacket at all times. Got one today for a hundred bucks from my local boat fixy fixy place. If I go over the side and knock myself out on the way over the jacket will do its job and keep me afloat.

Wear my kill switch lanyard at all times. The boat had a switch yet no lanyard so I went and bought one today. I lengthened it to give me a decent leash to move freely from the helm to the back of the boat to set lures whilst under way. If I go over board at least the boat will stop and it should be an easy swim to get back to as we're both in the same current.

Ive ordered a PLB to have attached to my life jacket at all times. If shit really gets pear shaped at least I won't be thinking of my epirb sitting in its cradle on the dashboard of the boat. I'll have one on my person to activate quick smart.

Signal mirror and disco glow stick in my jacket too for getting people's attention whether it be night or day.

Any more suggestions?.


 My wife understands why I clean my rods n reels in the shower....


beau's picture

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Date Joined: 24/01/10

After the recent overboard

Fri, 2021-04-16 20:50

After the recent overboard death in Perth we started looking into a proximity killswitch


Posts: 986

Date Joined: 19/06/14

Interesting Beau

Sat, 2021-04-17 04:18

I've been trying to find a distributor for the Fell product for the last few days, looks like rib rescue in O'Connor are the people. A switch like this should be mandatory for all vessels, it would save a lot of heartache for families in the long run. Getting people to use them is a different story all together.


 My wife understands why I clean my rods n reels in the shower....


Jackfrost80's picture

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Date Joined: 07/05/12

I've got the MOB+. Got it

Sat, 2021-04-17 06:37

I've got the MOB+. Got it from the USA off ebay. Installed it myself and works a dream and you can still wear the killswitch lanyard if you like


If catching wrasse is cool, consider me Miles Davis

Jackalchub's picture

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Date Joined: 10/03/12

 A much more realistic option

Sat, 2021-04-17 07:51

 A much more realistic option than the old red dangler

Broady's picture

Posts: 130

Date Joined: 16/01/13

Fell Marine MOB

Sat, 2021-04-17 19:16

Got one as well, ordered one after the guy fell overboard up Exmouth.  Easy to install and with the current version everyone on board can have a connected Fob.

Faulkner Family's picture

Posts: 17198

Date Joined: 11/03/08

 Damn good ideas there. How

Fri, 2021-04-16 21:06

 Damn good ideas there. 

How about a water proof bag that can hold at least 1 flare weather it be smoke flare or parachute.  Should be easy enough to strap onto your jacket and weigh bigger all. 


RUSS and SANDY. A family that fishes together stays together

Posts: 611

Date Joined: 18/04/08

Im mostly alone at sea as well

Fri, 2021-04-16 21:42

I do have a rigid life jacket in case an auto salt water activated fails, (knocked out) it has an epirb, torch, flares and a whistle but I never wear it, one day I'll watch it sail off  into the distance leaving me scratching my head for being complacent about sea safety

sea-kem's picture

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Date Joined: 30/11/09

 Have literally just bought a

Fri, 2021-04-16 21:46

 Have literally just bought a new auto inflate, super light and not intrusive. Considering the K's we do upnorth to get to our fishing grounds if shit ever went down this would absolutelty be the first thing needed. No brainer. 


Love the West!

Alan James's picture

Posts: 2117

Date Joined: 30/06/09


Fri, 2021-04-16 22:16

I believe swimming in a PFD is rather difficult as they are designed to keep your front side up which hinders swimming.  I'd be thinking about another line that tethers you to the boat.  I'd also do a trial run to see if you can can get yourself in the boat once in the water with PFD on.  Sounds easy but that's not always the case depending on boat design.  



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Date Joined: 19/06/14

Getting in is the easy bit.

Sat, 2021-04-17 04:19

There's a nice big ladder for me to climb up on both my boats. 


 My wife understands why I clean my rods n reels in the shower....


Jackfrost80's picture

Posts: 7341

Date Joined: 07/05/12

When I fish solo or with the

Sat, 2021-04-17 06:51

When I fish solo or with the kids:

Wear my Crewsaver auto lifejacket and on that I wear a PLB with GPS and a strobe light for night fishing. I clip a handheld VHF onto back of my shorts, I wear my watch FOB for my MOB+ auto killswitch, I have my flares around the leg of my removable bait board next to my EBIRB.

Lastly and most importantly I religiously log into sea rescue and provide conservative return times and recontact them if I want to stay longer or change spots.

Wearing all that kits sound uncomfortables but I don't notice it except on hot days when the jacket holds that bit of extra heat.

I just added a 3L insulated camelbak that I attach to my bimini frame and sip while I drive or reset a drift as I am terrible for remembering to drink water once I am into it.


If catching wrasse is cool, consider me Miles Davis

uncle's picture

Posts: 8701

Date Joined: 10/02/07

Bloody silly not to take all the

Sat, 2021-04-17 07:22

precautions, think of your family, another rock fisherman gone in at albuny, hope there’s a good ending 


all aggressive fish love bigjohnsjigs

uncle's picture

Posts: 8701

Date Joined: 10/02/07

Bloody silly not to take all the

Sat, 2021-04-17 07:22

precautions, think of your family, another rock fisherman gone in at albuny, hope there’s a good ending 


all aggressive fish love bigjohnsjigs

Posts: 25

Date Joined: 18/11/17

Bloody Good Post!

Sat, 2021-04-17 20:41

 Silver Fox I read you post and I felt it could've been me talking. The reality is we get lazy and complacent. I've also made a little oath to myself to take all reasonable (and let's face it) EASY safety precautions.

We're not school kids, it's not like wearing an inflatable jacket and teathering yourself makes you look like a dork. 


 Stop playin' with yourself, Hooper. Slow ahead, if you please.

Posts: 986

Date Joined: 19/06/14

A little bit of self preservation will go a long way.

Sun, 2021-04-18 05:43

I'm glad to see people can draw some similarities to my example and they're taking steps to ensure their longevity. Hopefully this may reduce more lives being lost at sea unnecessarily. Keep up the good work people. 


 My wife understands why I clean my rods n reels in the shower....


Stevieboy's picture

Posts: 57

Date Joined: 22/04/18

Reality call

Sun, 2021-04-18 09:52

After reading this post I have realised that shit you never know what and when something can happen out on the big blue, in my boat we travel pretty quick when we head to the bank,30 knts on the way out and 35plus on the way home, I always wear my Pfd every time but have no lanyard and an in a centre console with not to much to hold on too and a hull that likes to jump out of the water, yesterday after following this threat I purchased the MOB + wireless lanyard and a personal Epiirp  that will attach to my pfd: today I am going to buy a portable VHF radio that I can attach to myself as well.


I had some mates hit a whale at speed last year and things could have been a lot worse for them, watching the tinny the other day on the news going around in circles with no skipper, condolences to his family, I am going to make sure I do everything possible to come home safely if something bad happens at sea I want to be found.

Great thread, be safe ,cheers

Posts: 986

Date Joined: 19/06/14

Fell Mob sorted

Sun, 2021-04-18 10:25

$315 postage inclusive from Europe. One more layer of protection coming my way. 


 My wife understands why I clean my rods n reels in the shower....


davewillo's picture

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Date Joined: 08/09/16

 Great thread Silver Fox.

Mon, 2021-04-19 12:54

 Great thread Silver Fox. Good reality check for everyone. I have manual inflation vests on board and these have to be worn by anyone fishing unless anchored. Fishing off my boat can only be done from the marlin board so even on a good day a bigger swell or wake could see you in the water. When I had a smaller boat I always wore an auto-inflate if I was solo.

Posts: 397

Date Joined: 29/04/18

 Good ideas  fella's  if im

Mon, 2021-04-19 13:26

 Good ideas  fella's  if im solo i  tie a length of cray rope off the back of the boat  it floats  and its something to grab hold off incase i end up in the drink , tie a couple of knots spaced out on  it too. Would help if you needed to pull yourself back to the boat 


 Happy dayz 

hezzy's picture

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Date Joined: 27/11/09

good thread and like everyone

Mon, 2021-04-19 14:18

good thread and like everyone , i reckon we all could review our gear onboard and how we operate, solo or not

one of the things that im always big on is the actual decision to go out to sea or not ... that to my mind is the key one that gets the ball rolling
knowing the water conditions and your boat/crews capability and being able to hold back and make the call not to go .regardless of why you might want to go ... being able to look at the conditions and make the call to say nah ,,,not worth the risk , im not going today ,,even when you have others putting pressure on you to go ...

recently we went down to check pots as we do this time of year of margs , beach launch is our normal for an 18 foot alli

knowing we had a flood tide which would make the beach difficult to launch and retrieve from with a very light n/north easterly wind with a swell of 1.5 i thought it was do able we headed down to margs ,,,on hitting the beach it was clear the wind was more north /northeasterly gusting up to 15-knots plus ,,, pissing down heavy rain , swell was up around 2m with some bigger sets rolling in on a full flood tide .. all combined making it messy , with a powerful surge on the beach let alone getting out through the reef break areas to our pots ,,,

so after looking at it for about 10 mins , i made the call to not launch and return home ...

we wasted the fuel on the drive there and back , but i was comfortable with that compared to the possibilities we may have had in either getting the boat off and launched , retrieved or pulling pots in such shitty conditions out there when we did not NEED to be go in the first place ,,after all it is supposed to be enjoyable ......

how often have you gone out when you really should not have ?/ how often have you got away with it and come back in thinkign that was really shitty out there or whatever ?/
worth thinking about imo


OFW 11

evil flourishes when good men do nothing