Warning to skippers following Pilbara rescue

News for the Department of Transport


The Department of Transport (DoT) has highlighted the importance of carrying a registered emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) following the successful weekend rescue of three men from waters off the Pilbara coast.

DoT Director of Waterways Safety Management Chris Mather said the local volunteer marine rescue group was activated by Police after the hull of the men's fibreglass vessel failed and the vessel sank.

"The trio had activated the safety compliant EPIRB on board the vessel allowing them to be located in the water near East Intercourse Island shortly before five o'clock on Saturday afternoon," Mr Mather said.

"This incident reinforces that EPIRBs save lives in an emergency on a vessel and skippers risk tragedy if they fail to comply with the requirement to carry an EPIRB."

WA skippers must carry an EPIRB when operating more than two nautical miles from the coast or more than 400 metres from an island. It must have a current battery and be registered with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

"Having a registered EPIRB means AMSA can send help much faster in an emergency. AMSA recommends the purchase of GPS distress beacons, as they allow AMSA to detect the location within minutes of activation," Mr Mather said.

DoT officers will investigate the incident. Skippers are required to report serious marine incidents to DoT.

A special brochure is available to assist skippers purchasing and registering an EPIRB. Download a copy at www.transport.wa.gov.au/epirbs or contact the marine safety hotline on 13 11 56.

Media contact: media@transport.wa.gov.au

Page last updated: Fri Oct 1 2021 11:38:59 AM