Energex and VMR urge boaties to be aware of powerlines and cables

20 January 2022

Energex and the Voluntary Marine Rescue (VMR) have joined forces for Australia Day, when everyone hits the water, to remind boaties of overhead powerlines and submarine power cables crossing waterways.

According to Energex’s Area Manager Kevin Lavender, the call comes after dozens of anchors were removed from just one electricity cable crossing between the mainland and Bribie Island last summer.

“Last summer, in just one morning, commercial divers removed 27 anchors and hundreds of metres of rope from around just one short Moreton Bay cable and was a stark reminder that boaties were still anchoring over the clearly marked electricity infrastructure,” Mr Lavender said.

“These powerlines and cables crossing rivers and estuaries are charged with up to 132,000 volts of electricity and power tens of thousands of homes and such high voltage can make any accidental contact deadly so I am pleading with boaties to keep a clear visual while on the water.”

Brisbane VMR President Thomas Grice said avoiding cables was easy, urging all boaties to check each bank for the yellow and black signs pointing out the dangers below before anchoring.

“These cables are clearly marked, usually with large signs, so before people drop an anchor they only have to look at each bank for the warnings,” Mr Grice said.

“Similarly, some waterways have overhead powerlines crossing so anyone in a sailboat or large motor vessel should remain vigilant. Keep a clear lookout above and never risk sailing under powerlines unless you’re absolutely certain you have at least three metres clearance at the highest astronomical tide.”

Mr Grice also said before boaties head out these holidays they should  ensure their vessel and motor are in perfect working condition, they have more than enough fuel and the right safety equipment, and they use the VMR or Coast Guard’s log on and off service.

If boaties do find themselves in any difficulty they’re urged to phone Triple Zero and ask for police, who will dispatch the closest rescue vessel, or contact their local VMR or Coast Guard via phone or two way radio.