Queensland dory safety workshops come to Mackay

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 Mackay on Wednesday 27 November between 9am and 1pm at Mackay Bowling Club on 27 Nebo Road, Mackay.

Workshops will also take place in Cooktown, Cairns, Bowen and Gladstone between Sunday 24 and 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 Mackay 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:

While the majority of distress incidents involving dories occur in waters off Far North Queensland, there were two distress incidents in the Central Queensland region during the last dory season, one off Rockhampton and one off Mackay.

In both incidents, a distress beacon was activated for dories disabled with mechanical issues.

Both were successfully recovered by the mothership after contact with AMSA.

The recovery of these dories could have been made sooner if appropriate radio equipment was on board both the mothership and the dories.

In the same period there were two inadvertent activations of distress beacons registered to dory operators.

As the beacons were correctly registered, AMSA was able to quickly establish that the beacons had activated inadvertently and discontinue the search and rescue operation.

This highlights the importance of properly registering all distress beacons.