Test battery before heading out to sea
The good fishing on offer over winter draws plenty of boating enthusiasts to the water, but a local battery store is urging them not to neglect boat safety in their rush to get out there.
Battery World Karratha is part of a safety campaign being run by the national franchise for boat users to check their batteries before heading out onto the water.
It was started after an informal survey in Battery World’s 92 stores showed hundreds of boating enthusiasts gave little thought to maintaining their battery until they ran into trouble.
Battery World franchise partner Russell Taylor said failing to check on a boat battery between trips, not using a marine-specific battery, and accidentally draining the battery by using it to run a lot of other gadgets were among the biggest problems he saw.
“We have people come into the store who have their family packed and ready to go out for the day — (they) get the boat off the trailer into the water and their plans are ruined because the boat won’t start,” he said.
“They are a bit sheepish and embarrassed when it is really easy to check.
“We don’t service our boats as regularly as we service the car and time gets away from you.
“People have brought batteries in thinking they bought it last year and it was actually three years ago.
“Batteries are hidden away so they are out of mind.”
Battery World offers free battery checks on marine and automotive batteries.
West Pilbara Volunteer Sea Search and Rescue Group president Bruce Hardwicke said every year the team performed “about half-a-dozen” rescues because of flat batteries, including one just last week.
”We had one out near the rigs the other day,” he said.
“They hadn’t checked their batteries before they left.
“The motor started, so they presumed the other one was okay.”
But the second battery failed when the group tried to restart the boat the next morning, leaving them stranded “a long way out”, Mr Hardwicke said.
Boating enthusiast James McManaway, who once had to be rescued after his battery ran flat on the water, said a small amount of maintenance could make a big difference.
“It’s not like you can wave down a passing car on a busy highway,” he said.
“There could be little or no marine traffic where you are and the weather can change and suddenly you are in a life-threatening situation.
“I always fire the boat up in the yard first to make sure it is good to go.
“If it doesn’t start, it can wreck the whole day and I never want to break down on the water again.”
Boating enthusiast James McManaway has his boat’s battery tested by Battery World staff member Steve Minter.