I know we’ve been over this before, but as it’s the start of a New Year.

Getting on top of all of these things should be a priority for all business owners and operators!


While this is a bit lengthy I strongly urge anyone who owns, operates or manages a business to read this newsletter to the end.


If you have your workplace safety management systems in place that’s great but…

are they up to date?

Have you completed your annual review or just hoping it’s all good?


Don’t have a safety management system in place then you’re at risk of some very heavy penalties if there’s an incident or accident in your workplace!

Here’s three reasons why an OHSMS must be in place in YOUR organisation:


  1. A Brisbane based company was fined $3 million for Industrial Manslaughter. A worker was killed in a forklift crush accident. The company did not have any safety systems or a traffic management plan. 
  2. Dreamworld was fined $3.6 million for 3 x category two offences. The Thunder River Rapids Ride accident killed four members of the public. They did have a safety management system in place but was not followed!
  3. A paper mill was fined $1.01 million for 2 x category two offences. Two workers died and a third was placed in mortal peril after being exposed to hydrogen sulphide in a tank.

The above fines do not include personal settlements, that of course, can be extremely costly!

Categories of offences

There are four categories of offences which I’ve outlined below. I’ve outlined these to demonstrate what penalties can be applied in Queensland. Other states and territories are similar!

Industrial Manslaughter

This is the highest penalty where a person or PCBU causes the death of a worker


Where a PCBU, or senior officer, commits industrial manslaughter, a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment for an individual, or $10 million for a body corporate, applies.

Category 1

This is the next highest penalty


  • For a corporation: up to $3 million
  • Individual as a person conducting a PCBU: up to $600,000 / 5 years jail
  • Individual (worker) Up to $300,000 / 5 years jail


Category 2

Failure to comply with a health and safety duty or electrical safety duty that exposes a person to risk of death, serious injury or illness. Offences will be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court.


  • For a corporation: up to $1.5 million
  • Individual as a person conducting a PCBU: up to $300,000
  • Individual (worker) Up to $150,000


Category 3

Failure to comply with a health and safety duty or electrical safety duty. Offences will be prosecuted in the Magistrates Court.


  • For a corporation: up to $500,000
  • Individual as a person conducting a PCBU: up to $100,000
  • Individual (worker) Up to $50,000


The top five problems in safety management today!

  1. Safety culture: The over-riding focus on safety culture leads organisations to focus more on how much individual workers care about safety, rather than organisational resources on understanding and improving the conditions surrounding the work itself to manage tangible risks.


  1. Safety performance measures: An exclusive focus on measuring the workplace injuries that occur (which are often minor when compared with the serious risks workers face) pushes resources towards reacting to minor problems instead of proactively focusing on material risk reduction.


  1. Safety work: Investing in safety work activities, inspections, audits, investigations, training and risk assessments are often nothing more than a “tick and flick” exercise leading to a safety culture leading to safety clutter and disempowerment. At worst it creates the illusion of safety management that in turn makes organisations less safe.


  1. Safety communication: Top down broadcast style communication in organisations – including generic messages and platitudes – supress the flow of information from the front line people in the organisation with decision making authority. The people in the organisation with the knowledge on how to improve safety don’t have the power to do so and the people with the power don’t have the front line knowledge of what is best practice.


  1. Safety professionals: Safety managers and officers in organisations spend time on administrative tasks that make managers in the organisation feel safe without having any actual impact on how safe frontline workers are. Safety professionals are rarely involved in the strategic and operational decisions that have the most impact on creating the conditions for safety or reducing incidents within the organisation.


There is a clear pathway for your organisation to address these five problems with safety management today, and it will require a significant departure from current thinking about safety. Here’s a three point plan as a starting point to review your safety management approach.


  1. Focus on how work is done, not on the attitude of workers or safety processes;
  2. Understand the serious injury risks and build the psychological safety to communicate about their status openly and continually;
  3. Re-design the role safety professionals so they can proactively lead material risk reduction efforts.


Shorlink’s Recommendation

My main recommendation is to take into account the three point plan above and review your existing safety management system or if you don’t have one yet use those three points when developing yours.

Critical action is to do a complete review on your existing system to ensure it meets WHS legislation and has procedures that are developed based on “how the task is actually done” and up to date!

Secondly, if you don’t have a safety management system in place in your organisation it’s seriously time to get it underway…now! If in doubt go back and check the three reasons why to have an OHSMS in place.


There are a multitude of safety management companies and individuals out there trying to sell their wares and some are good while others not so good.

My number one tip is to do your homework before engaging anyone to do your safety management system and ensure they have hands on experience in your industry.

Engaging someone with a list of qualifications but NO industry experience has the potential to cause problems down the track and…it’s something I’ve witnessed a number of times before.


We all love a great time on the water, especially during Christmas and New Year. Whether it is commercial or recreational use, time on the water evokes merriment which in turn may lead to a sip, a stubbie or a session of alcohol.

Whether you are an owner, skipper, deckhand, server or cook – when you mix alcohol with your boating activity the consequences can be fatal.

Combine this with the responsibility of your fellow crew and passengers, it is imperative that you take this risk seriously, especially as we come into the festive season when alcohol consumption may be at its highest.

Alcohol consumption combined with the unpredictability of wind, waves and sun – can magnify the effects of alcohol very quickly and affect your judgement and skills.

It is extremely important to understand the alcohol limits and restrictions for each State, which do vary.

Please click on the following links for more information:

Queensland : https://www.msq.qld.gov.au/Safety/Alcohol-and-drug-rules

Western Australia: https://www.austlii.edu.au/cgi-bin/viewdb/au/legis/wa/consol_act/wama1982278/

New South Wales: https://legislation.nsw.gov.au/view/whole/html/2000-04-03/act-1991-080

Victoria : https://transportsafety.vic.gov.au/maritime-safety/recreational-boating/safe-operation/operating-rules/alcohol-and-drugs

South Australia: https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/boating-and-marine/boat-and-marine-safety/boating-safely/alcohol-drugs-and-boating

Northern Territory: https://nt.gov.au/marine/marine-safety

Tasmania: https://www.police.tas.gov.au/services-online/pamphlets-publications/alcohol-and-boats/

Canberra: https://www.accesscanberra.act.gov.au/s/article/boating-on-canberras-lakes-tab-boating-safety

Alcohol Testing on Vessels

Anyone operating a vessel, or a member of the crew, may be required by a police officer to submit an alcohol and or drug screening test.

There are penalties when your blood alcohol limit meets or exceeds the stated allowance detected in the:

  • operator of a vessel
  • members of the crew
  • water-skiers
  • observers
  • those towed in any manner behind a boat.

The penalties can include large fines and/or imprisonment. The court may impose an additional penalty and suspend or cancel a certificate of competency, including a boat operator’s licence.

If you hold a commercial marine qualification and are convicted of a drink driving offence, this information will be provided to AMSA, who may consider whether the person is a fit and proper person to continue to hold that marine qualification.

Did you know that the drivers of vehicles leaving boat ramps, yacht clubs and marina’s can also be prosecuted under the State Driving Acts applicable?

If you are entering the waterways, in any capacity, it is your responsibility to know the rules and ensure yourself, and everyone on the water with you is abiding by the law.

As we now approach one of the busiest times of the year for our industry, this year especially will be demanding given the border openings etc.

When times are busy, you can often become complacent with the little things, especially ‘assuming’ that all staff know not to drink on the job.

This definitely isn’t the case!

Don’t assume!

Now is the time to look at your alcohol policy and ensure all crew understand their responsibilities and their responsibilities to others.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Whilst some states allow blood alcohol limits higher, we recommend that all skippers and crew have a blood alcohol limit of zero as part of their general safety duty. This ensures their full awareness of their environment, and their judgement/skills will not be impaired with alcohol and/or drugs

Also, please ensure to have an open line of communication with your team. Safety is everyone’s responsibility and if staff witness alcohol consumption that is against your policies and/or may endanger safety, they should be encouraged to come forward and understand how the reporting process should be followed.


Our best tip is to ensure all persons onboard have read, understand and acknowledged the Alcohol Policy within your vessel and/or Company.

To ensure there is no confusion, here at Shorlink, we include with all of our SMS’s – an Onboard Alcohol Policy, Onboard Drug Policy plus Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy.

This ensures that our clients have peace of mind as they have provided their crew with strict policies. Should the need arise, crew can refer back to the SMS and owner’s have this in writing of their direction regarding alcohol.

If you are unsure if you have a Policy in place, please contact our office to discuss further.

This is a safety reminder to business operators to review their contingency plans for the 2021-22 cyclone season.

Employers in control of workplaces in cyclone sensitive regions must have adequate plans in place and provide adequate training to protect workers in the event of a cyclone.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology’s Australian Tropical Cyclone Outlook (link is external), the cyclone season runs from November to April.

Each year an average of three tropical cyclones occur in the Northern region and an average of four cyclones occur in the Eastern region.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology the Norther region has a 57% chance of more tropical cyclones this season while the Eastern region has a 66% chance of more tropical cyclones.

Cyclones can isolate workers by cutting off access to emergency services, roads, transport, power, infrastructure and communications.

Cyclonic weather conditions increase hazards to crew members and workers and may devastate commercial vessel operations and shore-based businesses!,

Commercial vessel and business operators must prepare response plans for the likely risks of cyclones.

Operators must also coordinate the plans for sites with multiple employers by appropriately training all workers.

“All crew members and employees must know exactly what actions to take in the event of a cyclone.”

Employers in control of workplaces should consider the following:

  • Develop emergency procedures and plans
  • Regularly review training and include the plan when providing on-site inductions.
  • Detail site-safe actions to be undertaken at all levels of cyclone warning phases. For example: remove or restrain loose objects or structures; have step-by-step plans for the safe evacuation of workers; and have clear communication protocols established for reaching all personnel on-site during all cyclone alert warning phases.
  • All transportable buildings on worksites in cyclone sensitive regions are to be adequately secured including accommodation units, dongas and offices.
  • Plan for a safe and orderly evacuation of non-essential personnel prior to worsening conditions e.g., during the blue and yellow cyclone warning phases.
  • All personnel remaining on-site during the cyclone should move to an appropriate designated shelter well in advance of the arrival of the cyclone.
  • Adequate food, drinking water, medical supplies and other essential items are to be available for all isolated workers.
  • During the red alert cyclone warning phase, a reliable emergency backup communication is to be available for contact with external emergency services.
  • Cyclone warnings are monitored via radio, television or the Bureau of Meteorology websites. Battery-powered radios are to be available in the event of power interruptions on site.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

If you operate a vessel or a business in cyclone regions you should have a procedure in place which covers all warning phases including:

  • Pre-cyclone
  • Cyclone watch
  • Cyclone alert

If in doubt or unable to complete, please contact our office for assistance.


Our best tip is if you don’t have a cyclone procedure in place – contact our office for assistance.

In addition to a cyclone procedures, it’s wise to have a Continuity Plan in place in the event your vessel or business suffers damage or loss not only due to a cyclone but any other major event.

Completing a risk assessment for the number of crew required to operate your vessel in emergency situations is not as easy as you may think.

There are many factors to take into account including but not limited to:

  • The class or classes the vessel operates under
  • How many Certified crew are required
  • How many uncertified crew and/or Special Staff are required
  • The general layout including the number of decks and considerations relating to access to different decks, passenger exit points (if applicable)
  • Abandon ship locations
  • Access to and deployment of lifesaving appliances and equipment
  • Location and deployment of firefighting appliances and equipment

Once you’ve got all that together you then have to calculate emergency response capabilities for all crew members and Special Staff if included in emergency response actions.

Now you’ve identified your emergency response capabilities you can then go through the appropriate crew calculations taking into account but not limited to the following:

  • Minimum crewing or what used to be Core complement
  • Design factors
  • Operational factors
  • Emergency response

It’s no wonder most people just give up when trying to put together a risk assessment for their vessel. AMSA does have a basic and I mean very basic template on their website. You can find it by clicking on the link below.


If you operate a passenger vessel and are involved in a marine incident where crew numbers come into question, you may be asked to produce your risk assessment or appropriate crewing evaluation as AMSA call it.

This is to assist in identifying if you had an appropriate number of crew onboard to safely and efficiently deal with the emergency under investigation.

If you can’t produce it or your crew numbers are too low you can find yourself in a world of hurt!

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Number one recommendation is if you operate a vessel that carries passengers or multiple crew get to work and complete an Appropriate Crew Calculator or an appropriate crewing evaluation as AMSA call it.

If in doubt or unable to complete one, contact our office for assistance.


While it might sound like it’s not too hard to do to get it right requires quite a bit of training in risk assessment and vessel operations and that’s where Shorlink comes in.

We use a detailed Appropriate Crew Calculator to cover all the areas identified and more to ensure your crewing requirements cover the vessel and its operations.

Don’t waste time trying to do it yourself, its much easier and cheaper to get the professionals at Shorlink on the job for you!

This is another one of those things that often gets overlooked, especially on smaller vessels but…it can be a major asset in the event of an emergency onboard!

Many operators are still today asking what an emergency station list is so let’s get that out of the way first.

An emergency station list details what each crew member does in the event of an emergency situation. It is simply a duty list for all crew members.

All too often I see an emergency station list that that details what each crew members will do in each and every situation. That’s great for ships with highly trained crew who are on the same vessel for long periods.

In the size of vessels, we are dealing with and crews that come and go, achieving that can be quite difficult. In developing your emergency station list, you need to take into consideration the following:

  • Size of vessel
  • Operations
  • Number of crew
  • Do you carry passengers?
  • Are there special/service staff onboard?
  • If so are they trained in emergency response
  • Number of special/service staff onboard

Before we go any further, it’s vital that you undertake a risk assessment in relation to the number of crew required or adequate crew (more on this next week) required to operate the vessel.

It’s no good saying I have a passenger vessel that does day trips with up to 200 passengers onboard and usually have a Master plus 3 crew onboard. You need to know how many crew are required to deal with emergencies safely and efficiently.

Once you have the adequate crew number established you can then allocate duties. Where you have a Master and deckhand only it’s pretty simple. Where you have regular crew you can allocate tasks accordingly.

On vessels where the crew includes an Engineer and/or a Mate plus deck crew my preference is to have the Mate or Engineer go to the point of incident and the rest of the crew to Assembly stations and await instructions.

With so many potential emergency situations I usually find it more efficient to have the Master instruct the crew in relation to the emergency at hand.

If you have special/service staff onboard who are trained in emergency procedures you need to incorporate them into the emergency station list as well allocating them set tasks relevant to their training.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Key recommendations are…

  1. Complete a risk assessment for the number of crew required to safely operate your vessel then;
  2. Develop an Emergency Station List based on your risk assessment.

If in doubt or unable to complete a detailed risk assessment, contact our office for assistance.


Need an Emergency Station List that is waterproof and reusable over and over again then call our office and tell us about your vessel and its operations.

We have a number of ready to go formats for different vessels, crew numbers and operations. Our Emergency Station Lists come ready to use and are laminated using a high density laminate and come with a washable ink pen and double sided tape to secure to a bulkhead.

Over recent years there have been too many deaths in both the commercial and recreational sectors due to overturned or capsized vessels.

Being trapped in an overturned vessel is no doubt an extremely traumatic experience for anyone! It’s an experience that so often ends up in death due to not knowing what to do.

Before we go into it let’s take a quick look at capsizes and their causes..

Causes of capsize

There are many causes for a vessel to capsize including rough seas and operator error. We cannot eliminate rough seas, but we can control the man mad issues in many instances.

A few of the man-made issues include:

  • Overloading: exceeding the approved weight/passenger limits
  • Distribution of weight: e.g., too much cargo or passengers to one side, the bow or stern
  • Weight carried to high: e.g., on the cabin top or upper decks
  • Unsecured cargo
  • Trawler hook-up
  • Sudden passenger movement to one side; and
  • Drugs and/or alcohol

This is a short list of potential hazards to take into account, but drugs and alcohol have been a factor in capsizes and many other incidents resulting in serious injuries and deaths!

What’s the primary cause of death?

While most people will say drowning which is true but there is a more sinister menace behind the scenes that plays a major factor in just about every case.

Panic can be classed as the most significant factor in just about all cases and…who can blame anyone for panicking?

Consider that you’re asleep in your bunk and suddenly you find yourself in an upside-down vessel with water and all sorts of things floating around you.

It’s dark, it’s wet, it’s confusing and…it is scary!

I run a session on escaping from overturned vessels which has been well received by both owners and operators. Below I’ll give a brief outline for your benefit.

Escape techniques

There is not enough space in this newsletter to go into details, but I’ll outline the basics for you.

When you realise the situation you’re in the immediate response is PANIC.

While it’s easy to say  but the fact is panic must be overcome or at least controlled to increase your chances of survival.

Let’s consider your vessel has capsized and you’re trapped in a cabin with a small air pocket, which is what happens in many cases.

Here’s 10 key steps …

  1. first, take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down;
  2. remember where you are in the vessel;
  3. ensure you’re not entangled with anything, if so untangle yourself;
  4. picture the vessels layout in your mind and identify the best possible escape path. This will be relevant to the vessels operations and equipment carried onboard;
  5. remember that with the vessel being upside-down everything is reversed: e.g., if you normally turn left to exit when leaving your cabin, you’ll now need to turn right but…that may also be dependent upon the vessel layout and potential escape routes;
  6. you need to make the decision to escape or stay and wait! In most cases staying can end up in death due to a lack of oxygen. If you decide to escape then you need to take action quickly;
  7. map out you escape route clearly in your mind;
  8. then it’s time to go so fill your lings with air, close your eyes if you don’t have a mask or goggles (especially as there may be fuel, oil, etc. in the water) and proceed with your escape;
  9. use one hand to clear away debris and the other as a guide touching surfaces such as bulkheads, decks, etc.
  10. when outside the vessel, look for any form of buoyant appliance or item that can help keep you afloat. If the vessel remains afloat use it for support. If the vessel is sinking and not staying afloat move away using any form of buoyant appliance.

The above is only a guide and there are many other steps that can save your life but…

                …there are many dangers involved that can impact on your escape as well!

A couple of important things to remember…

If you’re in a cabin of a capsized vessel the amount of oxygen available is limited and can be consumed quickly, especially if you’re panicking.

If you’re not already gasping for air the lack of oxygen won’t kill you, but carbon dioxide will! Remember that panicking and hyperventilating uses a lot more oxygen.

When you’re unable to breathe, carbon dioxide can’t leave your body, so it builds up in your bloodstream. It acidifies the blood and can kill you in just a few minutes.

The other thing to take into account is hypothermia which sets in when your body temperature falls below 35°C. Refer to our newsletters on hypothermia.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our number one recommendation is to ensure you remain aware of things that impact on stability and have the potential to capsize your vessel.

Never overload your vessel or place weight high up and ensure all cargo is secured so it doesn’t move around.

Finally keep alcohol and drugs out of the equation. Being impaired by alcohol and/or drugs is a recipe for disaster. Your decision making ability diminishes quicky when under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs so…stay alert and stay alive!


Capsizing usually happens very quickly and often without warning so our tip is to be prepared and have your crew trained in escaping if your vessel does capsize.

If you would like more information on this subject or to book a training session don’t hesitate to contact our office because…it’s your safety and the safety of your crew!

For more information on training that covers this, and other aspects of marine operations, please Click Here!

Working over the side of a vessel involves many risks and can be and has been the cause of serious injuries and loss of life.

When we say working over the side most people think of leaning over the side of the vessel being secured by a safety harness over the side for maintenance, repairs or even cleaning.

Unfortunately, many crew members don’t think of going out on the trawl booms as working over the side, but the fact is you are over the side of the vessel and often in an even more dangerous situation.

Over the years very little attention has been paid to this task but on many commercial vessels it’s a task that occurs regularly and often without safety precautions.

While working over the side while secured by a safety harness, has dangers you are relatively safe in comparison to being out at the end of a trawl boom!

It’s not just trawl booms, other vessels have booms for stabilisers and you can find yourself out on those at times as well due to a number of reasons.

The fact is that all booms represent a hazardous work area no matter what safety features are incorporated. Booms are designed to do a specific job often with little or no consideration of safety.

Booms are usually constructed out of metal tube or pipe which means they are round which presents a problem for walking on, especially in wet and/or rough conditions.

When out on the end of a trawler boom you have a number of hazardous items to contend with while undertaking any task.

Things like stay wires, trawl cables, boards and sleds and nets all present serious risks especially when trying to hang on and walking on a circular platform that is wet and often dipping into the water.

Some trawl booms have grab rails as a safety measure but while helpful you are still at risk when out on the boom so…what safety measures can you incorporate?

In all the Safety Management System manuals we develop for trawlers and other vessels with booms or arms we always include a procedure for working over the side and on trawl booms or arms.

In this procedure we specify the wearing of a Level 150 PFD for persons working over the side and on booms or arms.

Some operators include the wearing of a safety harness when working on booms which is attached to the vessel and while it may seem like a good idea it has inherent dangers.

These include the fact that if you fall off the boom you can end up being caught up in cables or stay wires, being dragged under or even crashed against the side of the vessel in rough weather.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Our primary recommendation is to include a procedure for working over the side and on trawl booms which includes the mandatory wearing of a Level 150 PFD for all persons working over the side and especially when going out on trawl booms or arms.


While having Level 150 PFD’s available it’s critical that they are in good condition and in service. Most PFD’s need to be serviced annually so make sure yours are serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

As lifejackets are subject to harsh conditions including but not limited to exposure to the sun, salt water, weather conditions, etc. regularly check them for damage and either service them or replace them if necessary.

Remember, lifejackets only work if you are wearing them!

Over the last few years there have been a number of incidents involving electric powered hand tools onboard which have resulted in everything from minor injuries to loss of life.

The use of power tools onboard should be well monitored to ensure the safety of the user and all other persons onboard.

In one incident a young deckhand was using a grinder ended up costing him his life and in another a crew member was lucky to survive when the power socket fell into water causing serious electrical shock.

Another serious incident resulted in loss of life while using a grinder when doing maintenance ashore. While not onboard a vessel at sea it highlights just how dangerous power tools can be.

How can injuries be prevented?

It’s not realistic to think that all incidents can be prevented because accidents do happen at times and that’s a fact!

To reduce the potential for accident to happen safety has to come first: at all times!

This means being fully aware of a number of factors including but not limited to:

  • Identifying the right tool for the job at hand
  • Where power tools are being used (on deck, in the engine room, etc.)
  • The surrounding environment (wet decks, fuel nearby, etc.)
  • Power leads
  • Appropriate PPE

This is a short list of things to consider before using any power tools.

Potential lifesaving failures!

On a number of vessels I’ve observed some simple but potential lifesaving failures that have either been ignored or overlooked. They are…

  1. Vessels with onboard electrical supply are required to have a Residual Current Device (RCD) installed which provides a fast power cut- off in problem situations. A number of vessels didn’t have these fitted putting everyone onboard in danger!

Electrical hazards are often hidden and can be difficult to identify, such as a small hole in an extension lead or a power board damaged internally. Electrical accidents occur in an instant and RCDs are the only device that can protect you and your crew from these hidden dangers and give you a second chance.

Following on from last week’s newsletter, we now focus on surviving Hypothermia ‘in the water’!

No matter if you’re in cold water climates or in tropical areas and you find yourself in the water for any reason you may be alone or if you’re lucky with other people which can be a life saver!

Why a life saver?

It’s not because you have someone to talk to while waiting for help, although that’s part of the good side it’s all about maintaining body temperatures.

Alone in the water can reduce your survival time significantly depending on the water temperature, your condition and health, what you’re wearing, IF you’re wearing a lifejacket and a number of other factors.

But…when in a group your chances of survival increase dramatically but ONLY if you know what to do while you’re waiting for rescue.

Alone in the water

Finding yourself alone in the water can be a traumatic experience especially if you’ve gone overboard during the night.

The sight of the vessel steaming off into the night with the lights slowly getting smaller and smaller is enough to generate trauma in many people.

The major areas of heat loss are:

  1. Groin
  2. Head/neck
  3. Ribcage/armpits

If you’re wearing a lifejacket or have some other buoyant appliance the HELP position protects the body’s three major areas of heat loss.

What is HELP?

HELP stands for Heat Escape Lessening Posture. When you’re alone this position protects the body’s 3 major areas of heat loss. Wearing a lifejacket of PFD allows you to draw your knees to your chest and your arms to your sides.

To get into the HELP position all you need to do is…



  • Keep your legs together and raise your knees
  • Hold arms against tight against your chest
  • Keep your head out of the water

This position will give you’re the best chance of survival against hypothermia!

Two or more persons

My comment when delivering training is if you’re in the water with two or more people “share the love” and huddle because it improves your survival rate significantly!

Getting into a huddle is not only the best way to protect against hypothermia but it also gives you the best chance of being seen by rescuers.

How to HUDDLE!



  • Press the sides of the chests and lower torso together
  • Hug around the lifejackets
  • Intertwine legs as much as possible; and
  • Talk to one another!

Huddling with other people in the water lessens the loss of body heat and is good for morale and also allows rescuers to spot you easier.

Try not to separate as this will allow body temperatures to start falling quickly.

Consider this…

While progressive loss of body heat can result in loss of consciousness and death, many victims perish much sooner when immersed suddenly in cold water. Cold shock can affect some, causing cardiac failure within a few minutes.

Increased breathing rates can lead to dizziness, and the muscles cool rapidly. Immersion in cold water can cause such rapid loss of muscular function that in minutes a person loses the strength to board a raft or even operate a flare.

A fit person in these circumstances quickly loses the ability to make even basic movements to help keep themselves afloat. There have been many recorded cases of drowning in less than 10 minutes – long before the body core temperature has started to drop or the person is affected by hypothermia.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

It’s vital for all crew to know these 2 lifesaving positions and how they help in extending not only their survival time but also for others in the water with them.

If you’re working on a vessel that carries passengers it’s the responsibility of ALL crew members to know how to deal with emergency situations including hypothermia!


Next time you’re in the water try both of these lifesaving positions and get familiar with them so as if for any reason you find yourself in the water you know how to survive!

Also…it’s imperative that treatment be sought as soon as is possible for any person suffering from hypothermia as death may follow unless correct treatment is provided immediately!

National Safe Boating Week (NSBW) is a safety initiative of Australia New Zealand Safe Boating Education Group (ANZSBEG).

The aim of NSBW is to increase safer boating practices and promote responsible boat ownership for commercial and recreational use.

Whenever you are on the water everybody has a responsibility to ensure the safe operation of their boats and come home unharmed to their loved ones.

 NSBW for 2021 has three themes:

  1. Maintenance

Maintenance is a critical part of boat ownership and ALL vessel need regular maintenance, servicing and safety checks. Vessel breakdowns and equipment failures can and do put your life and the lives of everyone onboard at risk of serious injury and even death!

Make sure you keep your maintenance and servicing up to date at all times and…don’t forget to record both scheduled maintenance and any repairs and/or maintenance due to breakdowns or equipment failure.

  1. Safety Equipment

At all times you must be prepared for an emergency situation by having the correct safety equipment onboard and in service where required. As for your vessel, safety gear must be maintained and should at all times be stowed so as it’s easily accessible in an emergency.

Having safety equipment that is damaged and/or not in service puts everyone onboard in danger in the event of an emergency. Remember nobody schedules an emergency such as a fire, sinking or person falling overboard…they happen suddenly and usually in bad weather!

  1. Lifejackets

When emergency situations arise, there is rarely time to grab a lifejacket let alone put one on so it’s critical they are stowed in an easy to get at location because…if you need it you need it NOW!

Something we try to communicate during our training sessions is that a lifejacket only works when you are wearing it. If you find yourself in the water due to the loss of a vessel you’re more likely to survive if you are wearing a lifejacket.

October is also National Safe Work Month

In conjunction with Safe Work Australia, we ask that business owners, workers and employers across Australia commit to safe and healthy workplaces for all Australians. No job should be unsafe, and no death or injury is acceptable. A safe and healthy workplace benefits everyone.

Shorlink’s Recommendation

Today we have 3 recommendations…

  1. Ensure your maintenance is up to date at all times. Take the time now or before you go out to check over all motors, other machinery and associated equipment and…remember to record your checks and maintenance.
  2. Check all of your safety equipment including lifesaving appliances and firefighting equipment and do it NOW to ensure it’s ready to go when needed.
  3. Ensure your lifejackets are easily accessible and are in good condition. Make sure they are dry with no damage including broken straps or buckles with the whistle attached and the light is in date.


The best tip I can give you to ensure all of your safety equipment is easy to get to in an emergency. Lifejackets are no good if stowed in an area that access can easily be cut off and fire extinguishers that are stowed in a locker with other gear all around them escalates the potential for a major fire.

Take your life and the lives of all those onboard seriously and while we hope you will not need any of the safety gear but if you do you need it immediately so make sure you have easy access to all your safety gear.

Remember, if you need assistance or advice with your safety gear don’t hesitate to contact us by…

Email: sms@shorlink.com         Phone: 07 4242 1412     Web: www.shorlink.com