Prepare your boat

Develop an Emergency Plan for your vessel that includes information on where to moor your boat quickly and safely, should a Tsunami Warning be issued. 

If it is safer to move to the deep ocean, you should also be familiar with the boating requirements of the area you are operating in, local dangers, and special rules and regulations. Know where and how to safely move out to deep ocean, how long it takes and how to get back safely to the harbour or port.

People in central and northern Queensland are not strangers to the destruction and danger caused by tropical cyclones. Cyclones typically strike between November and April each year. Boaties need to be prepared to protect themselves and their boats from the damage cyclones can cause.

Signs of an approaching cyclone may include:

  • An unsteady or rapidly falling barometer
  • Significant cloud formations or a lurid or wild sky
  • Extremely heavy swell, and
  • High humidity.


A storm surge is an offshore rise of water associated with a low-pressure weather system, typically a tropical cyclone caused by high winds pushing the ocean's surface. The wind causes the water to pile up higher than the ordinary sea level and the combined effect of low pressure and persistent wind over a shallow water body is the most common cause of storm surge flooding problems.

Changes in sea level generated by extreme meteorological events such as winter storms and cyclones may be positive or negative depending on whether the sea level is higher or lower than predicted. The effects of a storm surge are most severe when it occurs in conjunction with high tide and when this happens the storm tide can reach areas that might otherwise have been safe.

The combined effects of the storm tide and waves can knock down buildings, wash away roads, run ships aground, and loosen buoy moorings.

As with a cyclone you need to plan well ahead in the event of a storm surge. When a cyclone threat develops, keep listening to official warnings issued by the Bureau of Meteorology. These will advise if high tides and coastal flooding are expected. The regional harbour master will direct any shipping movements.