MARITIME deaths have tripled in Queensland in the last year, prompting authorities to urge caution as boaties take to the water. In 2019, 18 people were reported to have died on the water, compared with six in 2018. Redland Bay Coast Guard reported an eventful end to 2019, rescuing six people in two boats stranded in the bay on New Year's Eve. Acting Senior Sergeant Damian Hayes said police patrols would be conducted along all creeks, rivers and anchorages between Caloundra and the Southern Moreton Bay Islands until the end of the Australia Day long weekend. The patrols are part of an operation designed to deliver key safety messages to vessel masters, including personal watercraft riders. "Vessel masters should expect to be stopped by police for compliance checks of their license, registration and on-board safety equipment," Acting Senior Sergeant Hayes said. "The waterways are busy at this time of the year and all masters, including personal watercraft riders, should be aware of their obligations before they set out." Transport Minister Mark Bailey said patrolling police and inspectors would be on the lookout for boaties and jet ski riders who exceeded the alcohol limit, sped in six-knot zones or failed to keep their distance from swimmers and paddlers. Transport Minister Mark Bailey said the summer boating season promised to be busier than ever. "A newly formed marine enforcement team will spearhead the safety push," he said. "Check you're carrying required safety equipment and that it's up-to-date and properly serviced. "Ensure there's a lifejacket on board for everyone, and they all know where they are and how to use them." Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Angus Mitchell said skippers needed to keep focused on their responsibility to their crews and to others on the water. "Put simply they should remember the three Ps - plan and prepare, then proceed," Mr Mitchell said. "Keep a proper lookout and observe speed limits. "If you are going any distance off shore, check whether you are required to carry an EPIRB and make sure it's properly registered with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. "And always let someone such as your local volunteer rescue group, know when you're leaving, your destination and when you're due back. "Check the weather before you leave and keep checking while you're on the water." Mr Mitchell said boaties should also be aware that at this time of year children were likely to be on board. "They are more adventurous and less aware of risks than adults and this adds to boaties' responsibilities," he said.