The NSW Maritime operations team took to the waterways last weekend in a statewide safety compliance blitz. In the Southern Area of the State:
More than 900 vessels checked over the long weekend
7% of these were PWCs
43 penalty notices issued
40 official cautions issued
Not carrying specified safety equipment
Not replacing expired safety equipment e.g. flares, EPIRB
Not carrying lifejackets
Lake Conjola, St Georges Basin, Tuross, Batemans Bay, Jervis Bay and the Murray River were busy locations.
Th blitz followed the recent announcement that maritime safety authorities will be applying zero tolerance for three months to boating safety breaches for failing to wear or carry lifejackets, speeding, unsafe towing activities and personal watercraft offences.
NSW Maritime General Manager Operations and Compliance Chris Doolin said maritime authorities are taking a zero tolerance approach in a bid to drive down unsafe behaviour and save lives on NSW waterways.
“One death on any NSW waterway is too many. Since 1 July, six people have unfortunately died on our waters with poorly maintained lifejackets or a lack of wearing lifejackets the contributing factor,” he said.
Mr Doolin said Operation Be Prepared involves checks by Boating Safety Officers of recreational boaters on NSW waterways to ensure they are carrying the required safety equipment, including lifejackets, on board.
“The October long weekend marks the start of the summer boating season. It is an opportunity for boaties to hit the waterways and make sure they have the appropriate equipment on board,” he said.
“While a good number of people have continued to boat through the winter months, particularly with COVID-19 keeping people close to home, there is always a group of boaters who pack their vessels away in April and head out for the first time in October.
“We wanted to make sure they were doing this safely and following the relevant boating laws which exist to keep us all safe while on the water.
“Carrying, maintaining and checking equipment such as EPIRBs, flares and torches and ensuring that inflatable lifejackets have been serviced within the last twelve months or according to manufacturer’s requirements. They need to be in good working order and appropriately sized for everyone on board in order to save lives when they’re needed.”
Boaters are also reminded to tell someone where they’re going and when they will be back. The free Marine Rescue app makes ‘Logging On’ quick and easy. TfNSW Maritime encourage boaters to make every journey safer by switching to VHF radio, which provides greater range and better reception.
Operation Be Prepared concluded at sundown on Monday 5th October.