The Torres Straits encompasses an area of 48,000 square kilometers and contains 20 Island communities. Traditionally travel in this area is by vessel. Due to this fact the Torres Straits has the highest annual number of Search and Rescues incidents throughout Australia.
An audit of Search and Rescue incidents within the Torres Straits has revealed that in the majority of circumstances a lack of awareness of maritime legislation and safety requirements has been a contributing cause.
A lack of awareness on the requirements of and legislation relating to maritime safety is a contributor to such incidents occurring and a major concern for stakeholder agencies coordinating and responding to such incidents.
Through on going meetings and discussions with Water Police, Australian Maritime Safety Authority, Volunteer Marine Rescue and Customs, it was revealed that there is an ongoing need for maritime safety awareness and education in the Torres Straits.
Torres Strait Islander communities are to be made aware of the following:
• Maritime safety legislation
• Maritime safety requirements
• Marine safety strategies
It was proposed that members of Thursday Island Police and stakeholder agencies conduct Maritime Safety Awareness information sessions and associated projects.
Thursday Island Police have initiated Project ‘Paddle for a Life’ which is a significant Torres Strait Island hopping, outrigger marathon, crewed by indigenous and non indigenous stakeholder agency representatives within the Torres Straits. This project aims to increase maritime safety awareness by people living in Island communities throughout the Torres Strait and at the same time reduce the number of Search and Rescue incidents in the area. This in turn would reduce the enormous financial expenditure in managing search and rescue incidents.
Project ‘Paddle for a Life’ will be a three phase project as per the following:
• Phase One – Conduct an outrigger marathon commencing at Darnley Island (Erub Island) via a number of Torres Strait Islands and finishing at Thursday Island.
• Phase Two – Project stakeholder agencies to conduct maritime safety presentations at Islands visited throughout the marathon period.
• Phase Three – Generate significant local, state and national, print and electronic media interest into Search and Rescue activities within the Torres Strait during phases one and two.
Project Itinerary and Route
This project intends to commence on the 31 January 2011 which will see participating stakeholder agencies travel to Darnley Island and commence the marathon on the 1st February 2011 from Darnley Island.
This commencing date has been chosen due to the fact the sea conditions at this time of the year and predicted tides are most favorable and is traditional the peak period for search and rescues in the Torres Strait area.
The proposed itinerary and route of the marathon is as follows:
Day One – Darnley Island to York Island (Presentation at York Island)
Day Two – York Island to Coconut Island (Presentation at Coconut Island)
Day Three – Coconut Island to Yam Island (Presentation at Yam Island)
Day Four – Yam Island to Kai Reef (overnight anchorage)
Day Five – Kai Reef to Mabuiag Island (Presentation at Mabuaig Island)
Day Six – Mabuiag Island to Badu Island (Presentation at Badu Island)
Day Seven – Badu Island to Thursday Island (Finishing ceremony at Thursday Island)
The total distance travelled over the marathon will be approximately 148 nautical miles over a 7 day period.
From this letter we are trying to source some paddles for the project and any help in this area would be greatly appreciated.
Senior Constable 18977
Thursday Island Police Station
Ph. 4069 1520
Fax. 4069 1432