Media Release – Spearfishing Accident at Moreton Island

It is with great sadness that we were met with the tragic news of the passing of a well known and liked Brisbane diver, Greg Couldwell, on Monday 7th May 2012 whilst spearfishing off Moreton Island. His diving companions performed resuscitation after his body was retrieved from the bottom, but without success.

The Australian Underwater Federation (AUF) is the governing body for underwater sports and amateur diving in Australia. Spearfishers in South East Queensland are a tight knit fraternity and the AUF offers its sincerest condolences to the family and friends of Mr Couldwell who was a member of our federation. As an AUF member there is some small consolation of insurance benefits for the family of the diver involved.

Spearfishing is a great activity but like all sports it has its potential risks that must be managed properly to reduce risks from shallow water blackout, equipment, boat strike, shark attacks and other causes. The accident rate for spearfishing in Australian water is low with less than 0.5 deaths per year over the past 10 years which makes it safer than SCUBA diving (approximately 9 deaths per year and most in Queensland) or rock fishing (approximately 10 deaths per year and most in NSW).

The AUF Spearfishing motto is ‘Safe Sustainable Selective Seafood’ and there has been a national initiative called Spearsafe developed to further increase knowledge and improve safety for Australian spearfishers.

www.spearsafe.webs.com

Spear safe has attempted to bring together a cohesive view on safety issues involved with spear-fishing through a website, brochure, DVD, stickers and training. The DVD and brochure have been made freely available to over 20,000 people over the past 2 years. The DVD and brochure can be found in many spearfishing outlets including diving, boating and fishing stores. Australian manufacturers of spearfishing gear have also provided this material for distribution. Spearfishing clubs throughout Australia have also received copies of the DVD and brochure for distribution to members and associates. A basic, safety orientated and nationally accredited spearfishing course is currently under development.

Though these continuing efforts the AUF and its members and proactive programs such as Spearsafe aim to reduce risks of injuries and fatalities and save lives of spearfishers and water enthusiast all over Australia.

Media enquires:-
Judy Breeze (Executive Director AUF Queensland) 0418 754 644
Luke Randell (Qld Chair- Spearfishing): 0411 468 523

Download the full media release.

 

Simple safety tips for safe diving

  1. Tow a diver (blue and white) flag and float to increase visibility
  2. Knife to prevent entanglement
  3. Weight belt with quick release buckle
  4. Never load speargun out of water and cover speartips
  5. Tell someone where you are going
  6. Dive with a buddy
  7. Do a risk assessment of conditions (weather, visibility, boat traffic, marine life)
  8. Never hyperventilate and dive within your limits

Spearsafe Media Release on Project Funding

Major boost for underwater safety

The Australian Underwater Federation (AUF) is responsible for "Bringing sport, conservation and awareness to the underwater world" and we are delighted with a recent grant from the Queensland Government to increase the safety of spearfishers, skindivers and snorkellors in Queensland waters.
The total grant is for $27377.00 and comprises three components

  • Printing and Distribute Safe Spearfishing DVD $8200.00
  • Review and rewrite training modules.  $18,000
  • Print and distribute safety brochures $1177.00

Luke Randall is Queensland Chair of the AUF Spearfishing Commission and has survived a serious accident of being run?over by a boat while spearfishing at the Gold Coast in 2006.  "I am fortunate to have survived a nasty accident and pleased that this grant will improve safety forother spearfishers and snorkellors as this grant will make a huge difference to improving safety training and communication" said MrRandall.

A national "Spear Safe" committee has been set up to increase safety of spearfishing and freediving and the focus of this committee includesregular meetings, articles, DVD, website, risk assessment, stickers. "I am pleased that the Queensland AUF will work closely with ournational, NSW, Vic, SA and WA volunteers to make a positive difference" said Mr Randall.

" I delighted that the Queensland Government has recognised the importance role of the AUF Queensland and our vision and commitmentto improve safety for all participants. The review of training modules will focus on spearfishing and snorkelling but will also include otherunderwater sports played in swimming pools such as Underwater hockey" said Judy Breeze, Executive Director, AUF Queensland.

Download the full media release.

 

Simple safety tips for safe diving

  1. Tow a diver (blue and white) flag and float to increase visibility
  2. Knife to prevent entanglement
  3. Weight belt with quick release buckle
  4. Never load speargun out of water and cover speartips
  5. Tell someone where you are going
  6. Dive with a buddy
  7. Do a risk assessment of conditions (weather, visibility, boat traffic, marine life)
  8. Never hyperventilate and dive within your limits

Safe filling of Aluminium Cylinders

The QLD Government has issued a warning about the potential risks in filling Aluminium SCUBA Cylinders.

"Workplace Health and Safety Queensland (WHSQ) advises a risk assessment should be undertaken prior to any decision to fill 'at risk‘ cylinders to eliminate or minimise the risk from explosion."

Please see the full page Safe filling of portable aluminium alloy cylinders.

Anemonefish To Be Queensland’s Aquatic Emblem

State Parliament is this week set to legislate for the Barrier Reef Anemonefish to be Queensland’s Aquatic Emblem, Premier Peter Beattie said today.

“I’m delighted to put forward the Barrier Reef Anemonefish as Queensland’s Aquatic Emblem and even more so knowing that 19,202 people responded to our request for submissions on the emblem.

“The anemonefish - which claimed 27% of the submissions (5162) ahead of the Blue Sea Star with 16% - encapsulates the vibrancy of our outdoor lifestyle and the colourful spirit of Queensland

“When beginning this process Cabinet agreed that an Aquatic Emblem should reflect the spirit of Queensland’s values and be an appropriate addition to our suite of existing State Emblems.

“These include the koala, the Cooktown orchid, the brolga and sapphire.

“As well as reflecting the spirit of Queensland’s values our new Aquatic Emblem will also promote the importance of our coastal ecosystem.

“The biodiversity of the Reef is helping to advance our biotechnology industry and the Queensland Government’s Smart State agenda.

“The idea to identify an Aquatic Emblem originated from the Australian Underwater Federation, the peak group representing divers. Dr Adam Smith from the AUF initiated the idea for an aquatic emblem for Queensland to encourage greater understanding of our diverse aquatic biota. Dr Smith was also involved in the selection of the blue groper as the NSW aquatic emblem"

”The final decision of the Barrier Reef anemonefish is very appropriate as it is well known to fishers, divers, indigenous, tourism, conservationists and the general public through the success of the Nemo character in the Disney film”-said Dr Smith.

Mr Beattie said a panel of experts, chaired by the Queensland Museum,recommended a shortlist of aquatic species, including the barramundi cod, Hump-headed wrasse, eagle ray, leopard shark, coral and other well known aquatic species.

“The 19,202 submissions says that this has been a most successful process and we have an ideal outcome,” he said.

Media contact: Premier’s Office 3224 4500, Dr Adam Smith- Australian
Underwater Federation 0418 726 584

Download the Media Release.