Tasmanian boating

Great boating facilities exist in Tasmania. - Tasmanian boating
Carl Hyland
In Tasmania, nearly one in three households own a boat of some sort that is a boat, dinghy canoe or some sort of floating craft. Not surprising really, for a state that is completely surrounded by water.

I’m often asked, is a boat more advantageous for obtaining fish as say, compared to land based angling?

In my opinion, I’d have to say ‘yes’. A boat, not matter what your location, will get you to where the fish are and if they aren’t there, you can pull up stumps and move elsewhere.

Ski clubs, kayaking groups and fishing clubs have access to private inland waterways or surf beaches and estuaries, so making water sports a great part of recreational activities by Tasmanians. Destinations such as Bridport in the state’s North East are completely overwhelmed at holiday times and Southport in the South and Bicheno/St Helens in the states east also come alive at holiday times as more and more Tasmanians flock to the beaches and shacks for water borne activities.

Not surprising then that fishing plays a great part in recreational activities for Tasmanians.

Kayaks can get you where the fish are. - Tasmanian boating
Carl Hyland

In this state, anglers who fish and boat must comply with rules and regulations that are mandatory by law and the agency that oversees this is Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST)a government backed enterprise who regulate and enforce the strict boating code Tasmania has. For instance, you must have completed the practical boating license course to skipper a vessel greater than 4hp power in this state.

Boating on Inland Waters

With some inland waters open all year round for fishing, we need to remind ourselves of the risks that exist in the environment in which we fish. At any time of the year, because of low water temperatures, the biggest risk to boaters is hypothermia. This can be from immersion in water, which is particularly hazardous as the water temperature can be as low as five degrees at certain times of the year or from wind chill. For inland fishing seasons, please see www.ifs.tas.gov.au.

Boats can get you where the fishing action is. - Tasmanian boating
Carl Hyland

Boating on rivers are lakes requires the utmost of care due to submerged trees, shallow sand bars and other snags can be encountered but this is even more important this year due to the excessively low lake levels that Tasmania is experiencing. These waterways are also often murky and constantly changing so you need to be aware of possible dangers and obstructions that may be hidden just below the surface.

Another successful boating trip - Tasmanian boating
Carl Hyland

It is not feasible or practical to remove all these hazards, nor to mark them all with navigation markers. Always maintain a safe speed and a proper look out. It is also advisable to familiarise yourself with the area each time before attempting any high speed activities.

As waters levels recede even further, new navigational hazards may be uncovered.

Wader Safety

If you fall in the water, the chances of drowning are high if you are wearing waders, as they can quickly flood with water and drag you under. This can not only occur to those anglers who wear waders in a boat, but even shore based anglers can overbalance and end up in the water.

Anglers have been advised for many years not to wear waders in boats but there are still many who do not follow this advice so following are some tips to help keep you afloat should you end up in the water while wearing your waders.

To restrict the amount of water that can enter your waders, fasten a belt around your waist. This must be as firm as possible but always comfortable. The belt will also trap air inside providing the wearer with some buoyancy that will help keep them afloat.If you fall into the water, immediately get into a tuck position. This will allow the air in your waders to remain trapped and will also limit the amount of water that will leak in. You then must roll onto your back, keeping your knees tucked all the time. Use your arms to balance yourself.

You must not try to swim. Either tread water or float in an upright position. If you are close to shore you could use a backsculling action to get to shore. If you are swept into a fast flowing stream, always face downstream and go with the current, feet first.

Always remember not to panic and remember the simple steps. Waders are suitable for angling from the shore and wading as they keep occupants dry and warm, but MAST recommends that waders should not be used in boats.

Information for Interstate Visitors

Tasmania is blessed with fantastic cruising grounds, safe anchorages and excellent fishing both inland and coastal .To ensure you enjoy your stay in Tasmania with your boat, there are certain issues you should be aware of prior to heading out for a day’s fishing. Tasmanian safety regulations differ to other states with respect to the safety gear needed. The items of equipment required are shown in the table below.

A perfect day for offshore boating and fishing - Tasmanian boating
Carl Hyland

Most importantly, it is mandatory to wear a PFD (Life jacket) at all times when under power on all boats six meters or less and, yes, if trawling in the lakes under power you are required to wear the PFD. MAST has available a number of coastal anchorage guides:-

Tamar River Guide
South East Tasmania Boating Guide
East Coast Boating Guide
North Coast Boating Guide

These are available by ringing 03 6233 8911. Perhaps one of these may be handy to look at prior to arriving.

Other important information is that you are not to exceed five knots within 120 meters of a swimmer or someone wading and not to exceed five knots within 60 meters of another boat, shoreline or jetty. Further local information is available on the MAST website .www.mast.tas.gov.au.

Remember, when boating in Tasmania you are in 40 degrees of latitude - the weather can be severe and change quickly, especially on the west coast and inland lakes.

Please ensure you get an up to date weather forecast prior to your boating and it is also a very good idea to get, where possible, local knowledge.

If planning on fishing Tasmania, check out weather guides, and other local information at www.fishtas.com For information on inland fishing you should visit www.ifs.tas.gov.au and for coastal fishing visit www.dpiw.tas.gov.au.