Safe Boating Operations

Boating Definition

Boating activities at Flinders University are those that involve the use of all power boats, kayaks, canoes, dinghies, tinnies, submersibles, aircushion vessels and autonomous vessels.  It does not include the use of boats by recreational clubs or commercial ferries for transport.

Boating Approvals

As part of the Field Trip Approval Process and before the start of any University Field Trip involving boating, the Field Trip Leader must obtain approval from the Maritime Safety Officer (MSO) as part of the Field Trip approval process.  Using FlinSafe, please submit a Boating Safety Plan and Risk Assessment to the Maritime Safety Officer for review at least 3 working days (72 hours) prior to the commencement of the trip.

Maritime Safety Officer (MSO)

(Former title:  University Boating and Diving Officer, UBDO)

Matt Lloyd


Mobile: 0414 190 051

Office: (08) 8201 2534

Fax:  (08) 8201 3001

Work Health and Safety Unit; Registry Building (Room 009)

GPO Box 2100 Adelaide SA 5001

Boating Safety Plan

The Field Trip Leader should prepare a Boating Safety Plan as part of the Field Trip approval process. A Boating Safety Plan (PDF 108KB) includes:

  • Boat name, registration and survey information.
  • Master/Skipper/Coxswain and crew names, contact, training and experience.
  • Dates, location (including GPS coordinates) and number of proposed days on the water.
  • University personnel on-board.
  • Special Medical Concerns.
  • Personal Protective Equipment.
  • Daily scheduled calling.
  • Emergency contacts and protocol.

Note: Copies of the Boating Safety Plan must be carried by the Field Trip Leader and Nominated University Contacts during the course of the boating trip. The details recorded in the form may greatly assist in the event of an emergency or search and rescue.

Survey and Safety Requirements of Boats

Before leaving shore care must be taken to determine that the boat is safe and fit for purpose. Boats are required to carry standard safety equipment such as EPIRBs, life jackets, marine VHF radios, flares, fire extinguishers, first aid kits etc. The correct function and condition of this equipment can be critical in a boating emergency.  In Australian waters domestic and commercial vessels including the University boats must be inspected annually by a Marine Surveyor to ensure their seaworthiness and condition of the safety equipment.  If external charter or fishing vessels are used by University personnel, evidence of an in-date Certificate of Survey should be obtained. The Certificate of Operation should also be sighted to verify that the vessel is fit to carry the additional number of passengers and is authorised to operate in the proposed waters for the trip.

Responsibility of Field Trip Leader - Risk Management

The Field Trip Leader is responsible for the safe conduct of the trip and should have a good understanding of Flinders University boating policy and procedure. The Field Trip Leader must brief all participants of the likely risks, hazards, SWPs/ SOPs and the University’s emergency protocols. Copies of the Risk Assessment, SWPs/ SOPs and a Boating Safety Plan must be sent to all participants so that all team members understand the likely risks and hazards involved, can perform the task safely and are equipped with adequate knowledge to react in an event of an emergency.

Chain of Command

The MSO is in charge of authorising all boating and diving activities involving Flinders University workers or students and any changes to a boating plan must be authorised through the MSO.  The Field Trip Leader is responsible for the conduct of his/her team.  The Master/ Skipper/ Coxswain is in charge whilst on-board the vessel.  Directions given by him/ her must be enacted by all University personnel.

Certification and Minimum Training

Masters/ Skippers/ Coxswains should hold a current ‘Coxswain’s certificate of competency’ (or higher) and ‘Provide First Aid’.

Note, AMSA exemptions may be applied for, through the UBDO.

For further details please refer to the Flinders University Boating Safety Policy

Coxswain Register

New University skippers must register their details with the MSO who will enter the information on the University Coxswain Register. Details of qualification and level of experience must be recorded on the Coxswain Registration Form (PDF 82KB) .  Scanned copies of your boating qualifications and current Provide First Aid certificate must also be sent to the MSO. All University skippers are required to have a good working knowledge of Flinders University Boating policy and procedure.

Coxswain Safety Induction

The MSO or (experienced University Coxswain) inducts new University skippers by providing a Coxswain Safety Induction and will conduct on-water skill checks and training sessions to assist new skippers.  Refer to Coxswain Safety Induction Form (PDF 65KB) .  The MSO may also undertake audits of existing University Coxswains and skippers.

Boat Bookings

Boats can be booked via the Outlook calendar. Open the appropriate calendar, then simply book a New meeting with all, specify boat, dates and location, then send request. To load calendar go to Calendar view, right click Other Calendars, Add Calendar, From Room List, i.e. Resource - Uni - Boat Bookings - Tom Thumb or Resource - Biology - Boat (for Tethys or Zodiac).

Flinders Uni Boats Listing


Tom Thumb


Top Cat

University Skippers must have a good working knowledge of relevant SWPs, SOPs, Safety Management System (SMS), pre-operational checks, emergency flip charts, vessel logs and daily mechanical checks for the boat that they will be operating.  Care should be taken whilst using University boats and any faults must be recorded in the vessel log book and reported to the MSO within 24 hours.

Conditions of Undertaking University Boating Work

All participants must abide by Flinders University Boating Safety Policies and Procedures

In short:

  1. A minimum of two people must be on-board.
  2. The skipper must be qualified and experienced.
  3. The boat is seaworthy and carries all appropriate safety gear.
  4. Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) are to be worn on-board AT ALL TIMES.
  5. The skipper must deliver a boat safety briefing to all passengers and crew.
  6. The boat should not operate in rough seas or hazardous conditions.
  7. A qualified first aider must be present.
  8. A scheduled calling system should be implemented.
  9. A “SPOT Device” (e.g. personal EPIRB) is strongly recommended for remote or commercial work.
  10. For safety and fatigue management, working over 12 hours whilst operating motor vehicles or boats, in a 24 hour period, is not recommended.

Boating Safety Briefing

The Master/Skipper/Coxswain must undertake a full safety briefing on-board the vessel for all crew and passengers. This should include details of the vessel’s Safety Management System and location of emergency safety equipment. This must be recorded in the Vessel log book and signed off by all crew and passengers.

Towing Boats

Towing large boats can be hazardous. Only suitably experienced personnel are permitted to tow larger vessels such as Tethys and Tom Thumb. A boat towing induction is required as part of the Boating Safety Induction delivered by the MSO or experienced University Coxswain. Additional training may be required. Refer to the University’s driving policy.   Ensure that the towing capacity, braking mechanism and trailer lights are functioning and suitable.  A 15 minutes break every 2 hours is required to reduce fatigue while towing.

Fatigue Management

During boating field work, long days on the water, shift work, broken sleep and sea sickness can significantly elevate levels of fatigue. Studies have shown that untreated fatigue causes symptoms similar to alcohol impairment, including forgetfulness, errors in judgement, and reduced reaction time which can lead to serious injuries and deaths. It is vital when conducting boating field work that fatigue is managed with sufficient sleep, breaks, food and water.  Shifts over 12 hours in a 24 hour period, whilst operating motor vehicles or boats are NOT PERMITTED.

Accident, Incident or Near Miss Reporting

In an event of an accident or incident the immediate health and safety of your crew and the safety of the vessel are the primary concern. Apply DRS ABCD <link PDF ?> immediately, then contact the MSO (0414 190 051), your Supervisor and the Associate Director WHS (0414 190 024) or 24 hour University Security (8201 2880).

Record details of the incident in the boat’s log book and tag out any faulty equipment.
Then log accident/ incident onto FlinSafe Staff and FlinSafe - Casual staff, contractors, students and visitors.  In the event of a “near-miss” please report to the MSO as this may prevent an accident or injury into the future

Diving and Snorkelling

If diving or snorkelling is planned on the boating trip please contact the MSO for additional diving approval and refer to the following University diving link.

University Boating and Diving Committee

Meets on a quarterly basis to provide advice to the MSO and the University Health and Safety committee and discuss boating and diving safety policy, procedures and processes. Agenda and minutes are available through the MSO upon request.