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UPDATE 1 Notice to Marina Customers - Tropical Cyclone Update Monday 22 January 2024

UPDATE 1 Notice to Marina Customers - Tropical Cyclone Update Monday 22 January 2024

22nd January 2024

UPDATE 1 Notice to Marina Customers - Tropical Cyclone Update Monday 22 January 2024

Sent: Monday, 22 January 2024 2:03 PM
Subject: Important Notice to All Marina Customers - Tropical Cyclone Update Monday 22 January 2024

To All Our Marina Customers and Residents,

Important Notice to All Marina Customers - Tropical Cyclone Update Monday 22 January 2024

The advice and warnings from BOM and other weather commentators have pushed back the development of the Tropical Low in the Coral Sea to a Tropical Cyclone some time Tuesday morning. When this happens, the TC will be named Kirrily.

The system, this morning, sits roughly 860 kilometres ENE of Townsville and is moving slowly in a SW direction back towards the Queensland coast.

The most recent Advice from BOM predicts the Cyclone to cross the coast somewhere between Innisfail and Airlie Beach and at this point as a category 3 strength system. This forecast puts Townsville in the firing line to experience potentially severe conditions but more certainty about the intensity of the system and its likely impact area will be known tomorrow when its further developed into a cyclone.

Based on the above, we can expect to progress our Cyclone Warning Condition tomorrow from Green to Yellow. It’s important to note that each time we progress the stage of our Cyclone Warning Condition, the requirements to advance and finalise your readiness measures for your Boat also change. 

Progressing Breakwater’s Cyclone Warning Condition to Yellow means we have a Cyclone likely to impact our region within 48 hours. This stage is all about taking advantage of the time we have, before conditions deteriorate, to get extra mooring ropes on your boat, to take sails and wind loadings down, to prep dinghies, to make sure auto bilges are working, to seal up openings into your boat and to secure all loose items.

Vessels on Air Docks

The other incredibly important measure in Cyclone Warning Condition Yellow is specific to vessels sitting up on air docks; when we progress to Condition Yellow, it is vital that all vessels on air docks are lowered into the water to dramatically reduce the windage and therefore the loads transferring through the pontoons and tie-off points. A reminder that once the boat is lowered into the water, 2 full sets of mooring lines is the minimum requirement to run from the boat to the pontoon. I ask owners with vessels on air docks to be prepared to lower your boats any time before, or as soon as the Cyclone Status moves to Yellow tomorrow. Please understand this is a mandatory step.  

For those of you who aren’t particularly familiar with Breakwater’s Cyclone Management Plan and particularly the responses in each of our Cyclone Warning Conditions, we have a:

  1. Normal Condition Green which applies throughout Cyclone Season and when there is no Cyclone threat to our Region.
  2. Condition Yellow applies when a named Cyclone has formed and is a threat within 48 hours to our Region.
  3. Condition Blue applies when a Cyclone is approaching and will likely impact our Region within 24 hours.
  4. Condition Red is the final stage and applies when a Cyclone strike is imminent as is the onset of extreme weather conditions associated with a high intensity cyclone.

A copy of Breakwater’s Cyclone Management Plan is attached for you to reference and to align your preparations with.

Be Prepared for Voluntary or Mandatory Evacuation

It’s important to draw everyone’s attention to Condition Red which is the final stage of Breakwater’s Cyclone Management. This stage may include one or both of all utilities and services being switched off and, in coordination with the Townsville Harbourmaster and the Local Disaster Management Group, the mandatory evacuation of all people from Breakwater Marina. The decision to turn the power and other utilities off and to evacuate all persons from the Marina will be determined on the severity of the cyclone threat and whether the prevailing conditions – including tidal surge - will be too unsafe to remain on board their boats. We would typically be in the position to give notice of the order to evacuate sometime between 12 and 24 hours ahead of the impact.

For our Marina residents in particular, it is our recommendation that you plan for where you will evacuate to and when you will go. Refuge can be at commercial premises like a hotel, a residence of friends or family or a Council operated Evacuation Centre. It is advisable to voluntarily leave the Marina Precinct early, well before conditions deteriorate, so that you’re not driving the streets when it’s unsafe. If you remain on board at the Marina up until the mandatory evacuation order is given, conditions can make getting around difficult and Council Evacuation Centres may have capacity limits.

We recommend you use the Townsville Council’s Local Disaster Management Dashboard for advice and information and that you subscribe to their Emergency Alerts service.

Townsville has public cyclone shelters and places of refuge for use during disaster events. These shelters are subject to change, depending on the nature and severity of an event. The location and time to open gets broadcast through local radio and Council’s Emergency Management and Disaster Dashboard.

Mooring Ropes

Upgrading and replacing mooring ropes that are inadequate or in insufficient numbers to reasonably keep the boat secure at its berth in severe weather has been our primary cause for making contact with Boat owners; there continues to be boats tied up with ropes that are obviously in poor condition and with too few ropes. Adding and replacing mooring ropes, so your boat has a minimum of 2 full sets of as-new-condition mooring ropes, is the cheapest and most effective means to give your boat the best chance of withstanding severe weather without damage.

We get used to tying our boats up in fair weather but it’s easy to forget about the increase in loads put through mooring lines and tie-off points during severe weather. Doubling the number of lines, particularly spring lines running both forward and aft is vital to spreading these inevitable loads and ensuring you have redundancies should a mooring line or tie-off point fail. This is most important for larger, heavy vessels and vessels with high windage where, as many ropes as possible, should be used to disperse the loads of strong winds.

With the higher winds and tidal surge expected of this Cyclone system, boats move around incredibly in their berths if mooring ropes aren’t properly set and the boats not positioned and secured alongside the pontoon such that it can’t ride up on to pontoons or make contact with neighbouring boats when the ropes stretch under load.


Owners can secure their dinghies in a manner that best suits them and we’ve listed our requirements below that ensure the dinghies are properly secured. The options for dinghies are most commonly:

  1. On the Davits – they must have extra ropes securing the tender back to the stern of the vessel, be tilted so rainwater discharges out the bung hole. We advise outboard engines should be stowed on board.
  2. On the Deck – they must be securely lashed down and preferably stowed upside down so as not to collect rainwater.  
  3. In the Water – suited to inflatable dinghies that aren’t likely to sink. They must be securely tied off to the pontoons and we advise outboard engines should be stowed on board and all equipment in the dinghy like fuel tanks must be removed.
  4. Stowed on board – suited to small inflatable dinghies that can be deflated, remove the air, fold them up and stow them on board.

Other Vital Readiness Measures to Take 

  • In support of reducing the stresses on mooring ropes and tie-off points, a vital readiness measure is to reduce wind loadings. This is done well by taking down sails, removing furled sails, removing covers and shade.
  • Make sure automatic bilges are working: cyclones invariably bring intense rain
  • Secure and stow all loose items: best approach is to get everything locked away inside the boat so it’s not possible for individual items to become airborne.
  • Ensure all vessel openings like windows and hatches are closed: do everything possible to stop water ingress into the boat.
  • Ensure decks are clear and drains are unobstructed so rainwater can discharge off the boat easily

We saw a good response from a lot of Boat owners over the weekend and again today making further progress to getting their boat locked down and ready to withstand possibly intense wind and rain. If you’ve been down to complete your readiness measures on your boat, it’s incredibly useful to our Cyclone Management to let us know. And finally, should you identify any problems or concerns around the Marina, please let us know as soon as practicable so we can assess it and deliver a solution if necessary.    

We will continue to monitor the Tropical Low updates from BOM and other forecasters and will provide our Marina customers with notices of any notable changes to the predictions for anticipated formation of TC Kirrily and the corresponding changes we make to our Cyclone Warning System in accordance with our Cyclone Management Plan (CMP). If you have any questions or would like assistance getting your boat prepared for severe weather or checking its readiness, please don’t hesitate to speak with a Marina staff member.

Kind Regards

Scott Marshall    |    General Manager