Boat fire prompts safety talks

BOAT users are being reminded to be safe on the water this summer with the season fast approaching.  

The reminder comes after emergency crews were called to a boat fire at Lake Epplaock on Saturday about 1.20pm. 

A 29-year-old woman suffered burns to her face and arm and was taken by ambulance to Bendigo Health. 

A Bendigo Health spokesperson said the Melbourne woman was transported to The Alfred hospital on Saturday. 

Another 29-year-old woman suffered minor burns to her arm and right foot while a 33-year-old man was believed to have sustained minor burns to his arms. 

VF5 Lake Eppalock commander Peter Ritchens said the driver and occupants of the boat which caught fire at the weekend were not at fault. 

"As far as the fire on the weekend goes - it's just something that happened and there is nothing you can do about it," he said. 

"The only thing people could do, and is a good idea, is to open the engine cowling and vent the hole." 

Mr Ritchens said VF5 Lake Eppalock expected a busy boating season with fishing boats, yachts and jet skis already using the lake. 

He said there were a number of precautions boat users could take to prevent an accident. 

"People need to make sure they have all the correct gear," he said. 

"They should ensure there is a fire extinguisher on board and the gauge is correct."

Mr Ritchens said there was no speed limit on the lake and people should use their common sense. 

"Other than reducing speed to under five knots when less than 50 metres away from the shore, another boat or person in the water, there is no speed limit," he said. 

"It all comes down to common sense and that is something we stress."

Mr Ritchens said people should phone 000 and contact the 24-hour Coast Guard on 0395 987 003 in case of an emergency. 

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