Jet ski riders across the state’s south have been targeted over the weekend in the year’s first compliance and education blitz in which NSW Maritime issued four penalty notices and 16 official warnings from 143 inspections.
Deon Voyer, Principal Manager South NSW Maritime said ‘Operation Ride Safe’ promoted waterway safety and conscientiousness by focusing on speed, lifejacket wear, anti-social behaviour, and licensing and registration .
“Having emerged from lockdown and heading into the peak of summer our waterways are extremely busy, which is why campaigns like this are so important to ensure everyone is staying safe while having fun,” Mr Voyer said.
“While the compliance rate was 87 per cent there were still too many people breaking the law, with the top offences including interstate riders failing to produce a jet ski licence, general licensing or registration infringements, and speeding.”
“It was disappointing to see some jet ski riders not wearing life jackets. Wearing a correctly fitted lifejacket while you’re on the water is essential for the safety of you and your loved ones; it’s as simple as that. Riders need to wear an appropriate lifejacket at all times, including when taking the craft on or off a trailer.” Mr Voyer said jet ski safety is particularly important this boating season due to its increase in popularity over the past year.
“We have seen a 16 per cent increase in jet ski licences and registrations in the last twelve months compared to the previous year,” Mr Voyer said.
“This means more people out on the waterways this summer using jet skis, with a number of them new to the activity and with less experience.
“For those who have just received their licence or are operating under an interim licence, we urge you to take it slow, learn how to operate your jet ski, familiarise yourself with your waterway, and just simply take extra caution while your experience grows.
“This same message is aimed at anyone who has not ridden their jet ski since last boating season and may have recently brought it out of the garage to enjoy over summer.
“Our message to all boaters and jet skiers is clear - have fun but always keep safety top-of-mind when heading out on the water. This means always wearing a lifejacket, keeping a proper lookout, and checking the weather before and during your trip.”
During the weekend, 14 Boating Safety Officers and four Boating Education Officers, carried out 143 safety checks and interactions with jet ski riders along the South Coast and along the Murray River including around Batemans Bay, Jervis Bay, Wollongong, Albury and Mildura.
For more information on jet ski safety and licensing, visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-03/Personal-watercraft-handbook.pdf