This section is about sharing knowledge so that you use your recreational boat safely on the waters in Geographe Bay and your day out is a memorable one for all the right reasons.

Regulatory Authorities

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)

AMSA is Australia's national agency responsible for maritime safety, protection of the marine environment, and maritime aviation search and rescue.

Geographe Bay is one area in Australia where AMSA (through their contracted partners) carry out marine search and rescue training. Marine Rescue Busselton assist the contracted partners to carry out this training on a regular basis. These could involve aircraft searches for EPIRBs deployed by Marine Rescue Busselton or dropping theoretical supplies to a given point, usually a buoy, also deployed by Marine Rescue Busselton

Department of Transport (DOT)

The Department of Transport (DoT) is responsible for marine safety in WA.

They are able to stop you on the water and ask to check your safety equipment and licensing of your boat, as well as check the skipper’s licence.

The Department of Transport (DoT) website contains a significant amount of marine safety information as well as information about the rules and regulations that apply to recreational boaters in Western Australia. All skippers and boat owners should read these on a regular basis to ensure they are acquainted with their roles and responsibilities.

Water Police

The WA Water Police are a subset of the WA Police.

The Emergency Management Act 2005, in conjunction with the Emergency Management Regulations 2006, established the Commissioner of Police as the Hazard Management Agency (HMA) within Western Australia (WA) for persons lost or in distress on land or in a marine environment.

The WA Water Police will be informed of any marine rescue and will actively take charge of any significant marine emergency.


Boating Preparation

Before launching your boat - have you been through the following checklist?

  1. Do you know the latest weather forecast?
  2. Are you carrying a 406MHz EPIRB?
  3. Have you got the right safety gear on board including lifejackets?
  4. Have you planned your trip and completed a safety checklist?
  5. Have you checked the wave and weather conditions where you are going? The waves and weather in the Bay may be no indicator of the waves and weather offshore or around the Cape!
  6. Know how to report an accident involving a boat as you may need it for your insurance. Need the form? Download the Department of Transport Marine Incident Report form --

Make your boating trip a memorable one, not a memorial service

Required Safety Equipment

The required minimum safety equipment that you must have before venturing out to sea changes depending on how far offshore you will be.  The Department of Transport website lists what this equipment is required to be for those various distances you may be travelling offshore.

How to use flares safely

Flares are an important item of your safety equipment. The type and number of the flares required change depending on how far offshore you will be.

It is important that the flares be in date. The expiry date of the flare is stamped on them.

Flares MUST be used safely as they burn very hot.

Do not hold a flare with the flare inside the boat – if you drop it there is a high potential you will burn yourself badly and/or set the boat on fire. Always lean out over the side of the boat whenever using a flare and cool it off in the water after completing using it. Do not throw it onto the floor of the boat while it is hot!

Demonstrations of the safe use of the various flare types are carried out for groups on request. Contact Marine Rescue Busselton to find out when the next flare demonstration will be.

The Department of Transport website lists what flares are required for various distances.


Radio Log on / Log off

Who to Log on/ Log off with

Marine radio coverage in Geographe Bay is provided by: Australian Coast Radio Monitors (WA). Their acronym is ACRM pronounced “Ackram”.

ACRM is not a fishing or boating club but a Radio Safety Monitoring Club. They are a volunteer group – consider joining them as a social member for a small annual fee, to help them help you.

When you go out boating call ACRM BASE on:

  • Marine channel 88 on 27Mhz radios, or
  • Marine channels 16 or 80 on VHF radios

and log in with them for your safety.

Let your family or a friend know where you are going!

Before even leaving home let your family know where you are going and when your “Estimated Time of Return” (ETR) will be. Leave a comprehensive plan with them.

The DoT website shows a small fridge magnet that contains the type of information you should leave with them. This fridge magnet is available at all good fishing stores.

When just on the water, log on with ACRM. The information above is the same information you should give to ACRM when logging on.

Don't forget to Log Off

If you will be potentially out longer than the ETR you gave ACRM when logging on, call ACRM and update your ETR time.  When you are safely back to your launch area, call ACRM and log off.

If you log on with ACRM but forget to log off (or unable to), ACRM will try contacting after your ETR has passed. If they cannot contact you they will contact the relevant authorities who will initiate a marine search based on your last known position


Don’t take the risk – log on and log off!

Department of Transport brochure

The Department of Transport (DoT) has a brochure on using your marine radio which includes:

  • Logging on and off
  • How to transmit a distress call
  • How to transmit a mayday call

Read the brochure and understand what to do in an emergency and mayday situation. They also have other information on logging on and off.

Marine Radio Use

The Department of Transport (DoT) website also has other information on marine radio use and when you must have one. Click the button below to access this information.

Boat Ramps in Geographe Bay

The Department of Transport’s (DoT) website contains a map that shows where all the boat ramps in WA are.  Click on the button below to visit the boat ramp page.  Be aware that some of the ramps launch from the beach.