Do you see a boat in your future? Maybe you’ve got your eye on the Quintrex 420 Renegade included in our latest waterfront Prize Home lottery? Or perhaps you’re thinking about asking the bank to chip in for your dream boat?
Whatever way you get it, a boat will open up a whole new world to explore. The waters off Brisbane and the Sunshine coast are renowned the world over – not only for being spectacularly beautiful, but also for the fish that lie beneath the surface.
Owning a boat is also a steep learning curve. But learning the ropes, so-to-speak, is all part of the fun.
To help you get started on your journey, we’ve put together a rundown of boating basics as well as just a taste of where you could set off to around the Sunshine Coast.
With great power comes great responsibility. And that’s why you’re going to need a licence. In Queensland, if your boat is fitted with an engine over six horsepower, you are required to have a licence to operate it.
The licence you need is a Recreation Marine Licence and you have to be over 16 to get one.
To get a marine licence, you need to have completed (and passed) a BoatSafe course. But don’t be put off. The course can be done in a day and if you pass, you’ll receive a ‘statement of competency’ which you’ll need for your licence application.
Then it’s just a matter of heading down to Queensland Transport to complete the paperwork and apply.
There are a number of BoatSafe training providers dotted up and down the coast so do a quick Google check to find your closest one.
The good news is, once you have your marine licence, you have it for life, so you won’t have to renew it every few years like your driver’s licence.
And remember, just like driving a car, you need to carry your licence with you when out on the water.
Any boat with an engine of 3kW or more is required to be registered. Again, it’s just a matter of heading down to Queensland Transport to do the paperwork and pay the rego fee. You’ll also need to show proof of ownership and proof of identity – see, that marine licence is coming in handy already! Just paid for itself.
If you’ve waited patiently all these years to get the boat of your dreams, the last thing you want is to lose it as soon as you get it. Sadly, thefts happen, sometimes while your boat is still in your driveway. You also want to make sure you’re covered for any misadventures out on the water. Thankfully, you can insure your boat against theft, fire, accidental or malicious damage, capsizing or even becoming stranded. Most of the big insurers offer watercraft insurance policies but it’s also worth checking out specialist marine insurers. It pays to shop around for the best policy for your needs – what you save could pay for some fishing gear or even cover your fuel costs for a year.
Part of becoming a boat owner is making sure you have the right safety equipment for your vessel. In fact, it’s law for all boats to carry safety equipment. What you’re required to carry comes down to the size of your boat, whether it is registerable and where you intend to go.
The basics include things like life jackets (the type required depends on where you are headed), drinking water, fire-fighting equipment, oars or paddles, pumping or bailing equipment and an anchor.
Obviously, if you’re going beyond smooth waters or heading further out to sea, your list of safety requirements will get a lot longer and may include emergency beacons like EPIRBS, flares and navigational devices or equipment.
Of course, you’ll learn a lot more about all of this when you do your BoatSafe course but in the meantime, you can find the full list of required safety equipment on the Maritime Safety Queensland website.
It’s also important that you have appropriate communication equipment, whether that be a two-way radio on a larger boat or even just your mobile phone if you’re out in your tinny. Make sure you don’t go outside of your phone’s coverage area though if you actually want to be able to call when you need help.
Two words: life jackets. It doesn’t matter whether your kid is just learning to swim or the next Kieren Perkins. They should still be wearing a life jacket any time they’re out on the water. Life jackets literally save lives. (The name kind of gives it away doesn’t it?)
In Queensland waters, children under 12 years old, in an open vessel under 4.8 metres must wear a properly fitted life vest when on the water.
Another great tip for added assurance is to sign your kids up for a boating safety course. Even if they’re too young to get an actual marine licence, they’re never too young to learn how to stay safe out on the water. And of course, like everything with kids, they’ll take more notice when the message comes from someone other than their parents. They might even teach you a thing or two. You’re welcome.
When you head out on the water for the first time it can be a bit intimidating. Even if you’ve just hired a tinny or borrowed your mate’s and don’t have a boat licence, there are still some basic dos and don’ts that apply to everyone on the water.
A few of the key things to remember are:
So, you’ve got your boat. You’ve got your licence. And your safety kit is ship shape. Now for the fun bit. Where are you going to go?
There are almost endless options available to you between Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, from stunning river mouths and tributaries to island hopping and off-shore fishing adventures.
If you’re the lucky winner of Endeavour Foundation’s waterfront Prize Home, you’ll just be able to pull off from your Maroochy
River pontoon and head downstream toward the picturesque river mouth at Cotton Tree.
Further north, the Noosa River is another spectacular part of the world to explore by boat. The sparkling turquoise waters and white sand of the river mouth and mangrove-lined tributaries attract holiday-makers and nature-lovers from across the globe.
Another reason why so many South-East Queenslanders become boaties are the stunning islands that lie just off-shore. As well as protecting the coastal waters, creating a fishing and boating paradise, they also provide endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.
The closest island to the Sunshine Coast is Bribie – a local favourite for family day trips and throwing in a line. From Sandstone Point all the way to Caloundra, Pumicestone Passage, separates the mainland from Bribie and is home to some great fishing spots if you know where to look.
Back down the coast closer to Brisbane, Moreton Island offers what is possibly SEQ’s most spectacular snorkelling experience around The Wrecks at Tangalooma. On a busy Summer weekend, hundreds of socially distanced boats can be anchored through these waters while their passengers swim and enjoy the show beneath the surface.
When you’re done exploring Moreton you can head further south to Straddie (which is how the locals affectionately refer to North and South Stradbroke Island).
Or if you head further north, just beyond the Sunshine Coast, you’ll find the waters off Double Island Point and Inskip Point waiting for you not to mention world-famous Fraser Island.
What are you waiting for? Strap on your life jacket and set off for adventure.
For your chance to win the Quintrex 420 Renegade SC, not to mention a waterfront dream home to go with it, pick up a ticket in Endeavour Foundation’s Prize Home Lottery today.