Dive safe - boat drivers - video transcript
Narrator: Anyone driving a powerboat needs to watch out for divers, and divers need to make sure they can be seen. As a boat driver you need to be aware of people in the water especially in areas that are popular with spearfishers, divers and snorkelers. These include headlands, rocky shores and sheltered coves. If unsure, ask locals. Navigate with caution within 200 metres of the shore where divers may be present – and take extra care when visibility is poor.
[Flag coloured vertically half white and half navy blue]
Narrator: This is the mandated alpha flag which is the international signal to alert passing boat traffic that there are divers in the water. To help ensure skippers see the alpha flag, a high-viz fluoro yellow/green flag to draw attention to the alpha flag is recommended. This allows boat operators to be careful of divers in the water. If you have people diving from your boat you must display the alpha flag, which needs to be at least 400mm by 400mm in size and at least 1 metre clear of the vessel’s superstructure. When alpha is flown from a boat or a nearby buoy, it must be rigid. This means that it can be a flag design on a firm board or be a flag held in a frame to ensure that the flag is visible even in calm conditions. Also note that when alpha is flown from a buoy tethered to a boat, it must be a least 2 metres above water level. You can also make your own like this. Be aware that spearfishers, divers and snorkelers might deploy a range of safety devices such as safety sausages and different coloured floats and flags. There may be other variations of alpha flags like these but whenever you see one take care and slow down until you are sure that there are no divers near you. Also remember that snorkelers can be very hard to see and often choose not to tow a personal float and flag. Sheltered bays, holiday spots and shallow reefs are popular spots for snorkelers so take extra care in these areas. If in doubt reduce your speed to less than 10 knots and keep a careful lookout. Remember, when you are travelling 10 knots or more, you need to be at least 60m away from any person in the water. If you see a diver flag, divers in the water or scuba bubbles near your boat, immediately switch off your engine and carefully assess the situation. If you are picking divers up, then you need to go slow and maintain a safe distance. Call out to any divers close to your boat if you can, to make sure they know of your presence. Always match divers to floats so you know where everyone is. Be prop aware – and always keep an eye on the prop area to make sure it is clear whenever the engine is running.
End of transcript.