When it comes to Assisting Other Vessels in Need
Australia has signed up to a number of international treaties including the Safety of Life at Sea Convention (SOLAS) which requires that the master of a vessel at sea must provide assistance to a stricken vessel when they receive a distress signal. Additionally, Section 265 of the Commonwealth Navigation Act 1912 requires a master to assist a stricken vessel on any tidal waters. Section 98 of the Marine SafetyAct 1998 requires the master of a vessel involved in a marine incident to give assistance to any injured person or damaged vessel involved in the incident.
However when responding in any such emergency, the master is required to ensure they do not place themselves, their passengers or own vessel in danger. Also be aware that the Civil Liability Act 2002 provides protection against liability for “good samaritans” in emergency situations.
Depending on the situation, providing assistance in an emergency may simply mean calling 000 or the local Marine Rescue NSW unit and/or staying with the vessel or person until professional assistance arrives.
Don’t forget, you could be the one who requires help next time!
The Boating Handbook provides more information on emergencies and radio communications.