With dozens of anchors and hundreds of metres of anchor rope retrieved from just one high-voltage underwater cable recently, Ergon and Energex are urging boaties to be aware of electricity infrastructure crossing Queensland’s waterways.
The call comes after Energex was alerted by the Bribie Voluntary Marine Rescue (VMR) that a large vessel’s anchor had become snagged on the 11,000-volt cable feeding power from Sandstone Point to Bribie Island.
Concerned the mishap may have damaged the cable, Energex sent divers to investigate and were surprised by what they found.
“Although the cable is clearly marked with danger signs urging boaties not to anchor in the area, we thought we may find a few entanglements,” area manager Chris Graham said.
“But when divers untangled 28 anchors along with chains and ropes from the cable it was clear some boaties were oblivious to the danger they were putting everyone in their vessel in.
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“If the worst-case scenario does occur and your boat becomes hooked on electrical infrastructure, keep as far away as possible from the section of boat touching the powerline or cable and immediately call Triple Zero or radio the VMR or Coast Guard.”
Local Bribie VMR Commodore Liz Radajewski said avoiding cables was easy, urging all boaties to check each bank for the yellow and black signs pointing out the dangers below before anchoring.
“These cables are clearly marked, usually with massive signs, so before people drop an anchor they only have to look at each bank for the warnings,” Liz said.
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“Similarly, some waterways have overhead powerlines crossing so anyone in a sailboat or large motor vessel should remain vigilant. Keep a clear lookout above and never risk sailing under powerlines unless you’re absolutely certain you have at least three metres of clearance at the highest astronomical tide.”
Ms Radajewski also said before boaties head out these Christmas holidays they should ensure their vessel and motor are in excellent working condition, they have more than enough fuel and the right safety equipment, and they use the VMR or Coast Guard’s log on and off service.
If boaties do find themselves in any difficulty 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.