Firefighter family day on the water

Firefighter family day on the water

The Boating Industry Association is supporting a worthwhile initiative to give back to firefighters and their families through the positive experience of getting out on a boat on our waterways.

Through the  Firefighter Family Day on the Water, initiated by Neil Driscoll of Above and Beyond Boating, boaters and the industry now have an opportunity to do something tangible to help our dedicated firefighters have that have worked tirelessly to keep our homes, friends, family, wilderness and wildlife safe, often at a huge cost to themselves and their family.

Dr Wallace J. Nichols, marine biologist and author of Blue Mind is in liaison with the BIA and said: “First responders confront danger on our behalf, day after day. As a result, even the most resilient among them carry a heavy load of stress and anxiety long after the fires subside and the story falls from the nightly news. We have found that quality time near, in, on and under water can play an important role in the physical, emotional and social wellness and recovery of these men and women. Indeed, water is medicine for those who need it most, and everyone else.”

Boating can make a real difference to people’s lives and it’s a great way for our boating community to show our thanks and support to these amazing people and help firefighters and their families have some respite.

A brief outline of the event is as follows:

Event design overall

  • a non-commercial event with no money changing hands
  • to be an intimate, relaxing and rewarding experience for the firefighters and their families
  • one family – one boat
  • for volunteer firefighters only not for paid staff
  • initial event to be held on 15 March 2020 (due to interest so far, there will be additional events further into 2020 and Hubs who open to run multiple events through the year will be encouraged to do so. The CYCA already has their 2nd event confirmed for 2 May 2020)
  • Hours 10am to 3pm


  • to host the event day
  • to be sailing clubs or marinas with facilities and resources to support the firefighters and their families, and boat owners
  • provide a simple welcome BBQ on arrival (specific events can be sponsored by a local supplier for this)
  • provide meet, greet and introduction of owners/ skippers to firefighters and their family
  • to host a maximum of 30 vessels for the day of the event
  • the aim is to have a maximum of 15 Hubs across Australia for the 15 March event
  • the clubs and marinas who are already registered as a Hub so far include:
  1. Middle Harbour Yacht Club (NSW)
  2. Cruising Yacht Club Australia (NSW)
  3. Royal Motor Yacht Club Newport (NSW)
  4. Lake Macquarie Yacht Club (NSW)
  5. Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (NSW)
  6. Empire Marina Bobbin Head (NSW)
  7. Sanctuary Cove Marina (QLD)
  8. Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron (QLD)
  9. Cruising Yacht Club of Tasmania (TAS)


  • to be 10m LOA or more
  • to be registered, insured and compliant with safety requirements that apply in their State eg., lifejackets available for all etc
  • boat owners/skippers to liaise with families prior for any special needs including dietary
  • boat owners escort families to boats, undertake briefing and get underway
  • boat owners to offer lunch to their guests
  • owners/skippers to observe requirements regarding prevention of pollution
  • commercial vessels are limited to a maximum capacity of 20 passengers to keep a personal feel to the event for all families

The BIA has already been in conversation with and briefed relevant government agencies including AMSA and State maritime regulators in QLD, NSW, VIC, TAS, SA and WA and insurers including Club Marine and Nautilus to keep them informed and confirm their support.

In a statement to members, BIA President Darren Vaux said, “I trust his worthy initiative which is supported by the BIA, Marina Industries Association and Marine Industry Foundation meets with your backing and I would ask members to consider registering their vessels; and those with clubs or marinas that could form a Hub to register. You can register at the event website –

“Together, we can help this worthy event reach the target of 15 Hubs and 450 vessels for 15 March 2020. And with your support, there is a genuine likelihood that there will be additional Firefighter family days on the water in 2020.”