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Maritime compliance blitz on South Coast kick-starts the boating season

The weekend marked the first compliance blitz on the South Coast and the tragic start of a new boating season following the fatal incident that occurred at Waniora Point at Bulli.

NSW Maritime Executive Director Mark Hutchings said ‘Operation Refresh’ was a three-day campaign focusing on safety operations and vessel readiness, and served as a timely reminder for boaters to be safe and take extra care out on the water.

“What happened at Waniora Point at Bulli over the weekend was a tragic start to this year’s boating season. The devastation that unfolded was heartbreaking and something we never want to see come out of a day on the water,” Mr Hutchings said.

“We hope that the weekend’s compliance blitz that focused on registration, safety equipment such as lifejackets, towing, weather and waterway conditions, and safe speed helps prevent incidents like this in future.

“During the blitz there were a lot of boaters doing the right thing, however there were still one too many who were not with 27 fines issued over the three days, mostly relating to boaters failing to wear, service or carry lifejackets.

“Our message to boaters is clear - if you’re doing the wrong thing, you will get caught.”

Mr Hutchings said the weekend’s campaign kick-started what is expected to be a busy boating season following the easing of restrictions across the state.

“As NSW emerges from lockdown and begins to reopen, we predict there will be an increase in boaters not just around the South Coast but across the state this boating season,” Mr Hutchings said.

“Over the weekend we sent Boating Safety Officers far and wide to patrol a number of popular locations on the South Coast as well as the Murray River and Alpine Lakes to ensure our messages about safety and compliance were heard.

“We want boaters to have fun but to take some simple safety precautions when heading out on the water. Always wear a lifejacket, always keep a proper lookout and never go out if weather conditions are poor.”

During the weekend, NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers carried out more than 450 random safety checks from Stanwell Park on the South Coast to the Victorian border.