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Flinders Ports, South Australia’s leading port operator, is spearheading a public awareness campaign to urge fishing and recreational communities to stay safe on Port Adelaide’s busy Port River this summer.

Captain Carl Kavina, General Manager of Marine Operations at Flinders Ports, confirmed that Flinders Ports welcomes fishing and recreation on the Port River, but through a series of public safety adverts and presentations to local yacht clubs, is urging small boats to avoid large ships by staying out of the Port River channel and its approaches.

“Fishermen and women are responsible for their own safety and by taking some precautions the risks can be reduced. Always have safety equipment on-board and steer clear of the channel. As for anchoring there – that’s highly dangerous and illegal,” said Captain Kavina.

For night fishing, keeping the boat’s navigation lights on at all times is essential. Before setting off on a fishing expedition, finding out which ships are on the Port River and its approaches is advised.

“Information on shipping movements is available online. I urge all fishermen and women to take the time to consult the Port Management Information System (PortMIS) on the Flinders Ports website. PortMIS, available at: www.portmis.flindersports.com.au, contains live data on actual and expected shipping movements,” Captain Kavina advised.

Shipping has been increasing on the Port River over the last ten years, up from 2,028 ship movements in 2003 to 2,938 in 2013, with the size of the ships calling at Port Adelaide increasing too. Port Adelaide’s popularity as a cruise destination has also been growing, so that means more large cruise ships, a longer cruise ship season and a greater likelihood that smaller fishing and recreational vessels could find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“Fortunately, we have never had a ship collision incident on the Port River, and this year more small boats are heeding the safety message, but there is still a genuine risk. Large ships can’t always see fishing boats and if they do, stopping quickly or changing course is practically impossible,” said Captain Kavina.

For safe fishing this summer it is in everyone’s interest to follow these three simple safety measures. Stay out of the channel and its approaches, use lights at night and check PortMIS before setting off.