Queensland dory safety workshops come to Cooktown

Tuesday 19 November 2019
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is hosting free safety workshops in Queensland next week for commercial line fishing operators and crews that use dories or tenders.
Media Release

One of the workshops will take place in Cooktown on Sunday 24 of November between 10am and 1pm at the PCYC on 3 May Street, Cooktown.

Workshops will also take place in Cairns, Bowen, Mackay and Gladstone in the same week from Monday 25 to Thursday 28 November.

AMSA Operations North Manager Greg Witherall said the workshops would provide local operators and crews with a supportive environment to learn about the regulations that apply to their operations and how they could improve safety on their boats.

“These workshops are part of a broader marine safety campaign led by AMSA with support from Queensland Police Service and Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrol,” Mr Witherall said.

“Dory fishing operations have developed a reputation for having a poor safety culture and that’s deeply concerning not just for AMSA as a safety regulator, but for the families of the people who work in these operations and their communities.

“There have been a number of serious incidents in recent years which show that risk-taking is unacceptably high.”

Mr Witherall said the free safety workshops, including the workshop taking place in Cooktown, had been timed to coincide with fisheries closures.

“We’re expecting full attendance by local operators and crews at these workshops,” Mr Witherall said.

“Improving the processes you have on board particularly for emergencies costs you nothing but time and that’s a small price to pay for the safety of you and your people.”

For more information about the free safety workshops, visit

For more information about the marine safety campaign, visit


Case study:

On the 14th November AMSA received a distress alert from a dory off Bowen, which had become lost and could not contact the mothership.

AMSA could not contact the dory or the mothership, so a search and rescue operation was launched including the tasking of search aircraft.

After locating the dory, and with the mothership still not responding to any communications, AMSA located the mothership 11km away.

A rescue vessel then guided the lost dory back to the mothership.

If the dory had been equipped with a marine radio, and the mothership monitoring it, the dory would have been recovered much faster.

Incidents like this prove how important it is to have proper safety equipment, especially marine radios, installed on dories.