MSV Acting Director Cameron Toy said one of the greatest risks to boaters is ending up in the water and unable to call for help.
"In this situation, you are relying on someone on land to report you missing – but we often see cases where the person on land is hesitant to call 000, and they wait until it is nearly dark," he said.
"This makes it much more difficult to carry out a successful rescue."
Boaters should establish a clear plan, share the details of their trip with someone on land - including the details of their boat or kayak- and agree on a time to call emergency services if they haven't returned or cannot be reached.
"It is so important to set this trigger time, because if you are in trouble, the sooner the alarm is raised, the sooner a marine search and rescue unit can come to your assistance," Mr Toy said.
He encouraged all boaters to 'Know the Five'.
"Our 'Prepare to survive' campaign is a reminder to all boaters that the more prepared they are, the more likely they are to survive in an incident,"
Know the Five:
- Know the weather
- Practise getting back on
- Carry a distress beacon
- Lock in a buddy plan
- Wear a life jacket
More information on being prepared in emergencies can be found at www.msv.vic.gov.au.