It is a good idea to plan your trip and to check all your gear prior to leaving home.  There are some useful check lists to aid you in your preparation. Don’t forget to include your crew in your trip preparations. The more you do before you head out on the water will make your day more enjoyable.

Basic Rules for Boating

Basic rules for safe boating:

  • Know the area in which you are boating and seek local knowledge
  • Check the weather before and during your trip including tide and the expected sea conditions.
  • Tell someone where you are going and when you will return
  • Know the limitations of your boat
  • Know your own limitations – if you’re in any doubt, come in
  • Carry the right safety gear and know how to use it
  • Don’t commit yourself to the trip – cancel if the weather is bad
  • Know the load limit of your boat and don’t exceed it
  • Carry some spare fuel and basic spare parts
  • Wear a life jacket at all times on boats 6m and under
  • Keep an eye on children and put them in a life jacket at the boat ramp
  • Alcohol and boating don’t mix

If you’re new to boating, remind yourself of these items

  • Take it easy – even the most experienced boaters can get into trouble
  • Knowledge and skills come from experience – this takes time
  • Perhaps start in calm conditions and work your way up
  • Don’t be over confident – a licence means you know the rules but you still have no experience
  • Now that you hold a boat licence, you have the responsibility of your passengers

Boat and Gear Safety Checklist

Sometimes we take the condition of our boat and gear for granted.

This comprehensive check list covers most areas of all boats of various shapes and sizes.

We urge everyone to make a copy and spend some time going through the check list to ensure their boat is up to scratch.

It may also be a good idea to copy and enlarge the outline of the boat, write on it the location of your safety and other gear, then laminate it and mount it on the bulkhead.

This would be a reminder to all on board regarding the location of important safety gear and other mechanisms on a boat.

Planning your Trip Check List

Going Boating?  Use this checklist before you depart!

  • do you hold a current licence?
  • has the latest weather forecast been checked?
  • has the tide been checked to ensure the ramp is suitable?
  • has the vessel and safety equipment been checked?
  • is there enough fuel for the trip (and reserve)?
  • is there sufficient food, water and a first aid kit?
  • have you informed someone of your departure and estimated return?
  • are you familiar with the area you intend going, or have you sought local knowledge?
  • are all passengers familiar with the safety equipment?

Remember – watch the weather and think of your boat’s safety at all times


Good weather is critical for a safe and enjoyable trip therefore it is important to always obtain an up-to-date weather forecast before going boating.

A weather forecast will include information on wind direction and speed, as well as the state of the sea and swell.  If the weather is not suitable, cancel your trip.

Routine forecasts and observation reports for coastal waters areas within 60 nautical miles of the coast and larger inland lakes are issued twice daily.

Warnings are also issued whenever strong winds, gales, storm-force or greater winds are expected, and are renewed every six hours.

Wind alerts are issued for South East Coast, South West Coast and Central Plateau Lakes as required.

There are many ways of obtaining an up to date forecast for any of the Tasmanian Coastal Waters areas and the larger Central Plateau and South West Lakes.

Routine boating forecasts are issued for nine Tasmanian coastal regions as well as inland waters such as larger Central Plateau and South West Lakes.

The Bureau of Meteorology issues forecasts for all these regions twice daily at 5.00am and 4.00pm.

Tasmanian forecasting areas

Download the free Deckee app.



MAST Telephone Weather Service

Forecasts on this system are updated twice daily. The service is the cost of a local call and you can get a forecast for your area by dialling one of the numbers listed below.

Southern Tasmania                 (03) 6233 9955
Northern Tasmania                 (03) 6323 2555
Eastern Tasmania                    (03) 6376 0555
North-West Tasmania            (03) 6498 7755


The Bureau of Meteorology Phone Service  

Boating weather forecasts, warnings and observations  – 1900 969 940 (Cost 77 cents / min)

Phone 1300 659 216 for all current warnings (Cost of a local call).

Save these numbers into your mobile phone.


The Bureau of Meteorology website provides access to weather forecasts and weather observations.

Bureau of Meteorology Marine Wind Warning Summary

Meteye is an online mapping tool or Geographic Information System (GIS) used to visualise weather data for Australia.

The ‘Meteye‘ system allows you to easily search for your local weather data, save your favourite locations and combine the latest weather and forecast weather on one map (rain radar, cloud, temperature, rainfall, wind, waves).

The Bureau of Meteorology also has a new mobile weather website for smartphone users which is a condensed and reformatted version of the full Bureau website, customised for small screens.

The mobile site URL is



Current weather forecasts are available via VHF radio. Volunteer coastal radio stations broadcast forecasts at particular times and can provide a forecast upon request at any other time.

Warnings and forecasts are broadcast by these groups on both VHF Channel 16 and 67.

Many radio stations broadcast comprehensive weather forecasts.

Wind direction is given in 8 compass points for forecasts and 16 for observations and is the direction the wind is coming from.

Wave height is the vertical distance between the top of the crest and the bottom of the trough.

Wind speed refers to the average speed over a 10 minute period at a height of 10 metres above the surface and is given in knots. A knot (kn) is equal to a speed of one nautical mile per hour. Note: 10 knots = 18.5 km/h and 10km/h = 5.4 knots.

Gusts may be up to 40 per cent stronger than the average speed.

A squall is an abrupt and large increase of wind speed with a duration in the order of minutes which diminishes rather suddenly.

Wave and swell heights are described in terms of significant wave height which represents the average of the highest one-third of waves. Some waves will be higher and some lower than the significant wave height. Typically one in 2000 waves will be twice this height.

King/Freak/Rogue waves occur when wind waves and/or a combination of swell waves join to produce a very high wave. These waves can be much larger than the significant wave height.

Wind and Warning Categories

Coastal waters wind warnings issued by the Bureau are categorised as follows :

Strong Wind Warning: Winds averaging from 26 knots and up to 33 knots
Gale Warning: Winds averaging from 34 knots and up to 47 knots
Storm Force Wind Warning: Winds averaging from 48 knots and up to 63 knots
Hurricane Force Wind Warning: Winds averaging 64 knots or more

Inland waters wind alerts are issued for winds averaging 20 knots or more.

Conversion: 1 knot = 1 nautical mile per hour = 1.85 kilometres per hour.

Note: Wind speed is a ten minute average and gusts may be up to 40% stronger
Strong wind warnings for coastal waters area only