The weekend’s statewide waterway safety blitz, held ahead of Australia Day on Wednesday, resulted in 88 fines and 227 official warnings for boaters and Jet Ski riders breaking the law, with a non-compliance rate of about one in 10 checked. Data for the South:
o Safety check: 833
o Penalty Notices: 51
o Official Cautions: 113
o Top 3 Formal Offences Categories for all Vessels
§ Lifejacket: 55 (34% from total formal offences) – either not wearing or carrying
§ Licensing or Registration: 35 (21% from total formal offences) – either not carrying or expired
§ Safety Equipment: 32 (20% from total formal offences) – lack of proper safety equipment on board
o Top 3 Formal Offences Waterways for all Vessels
§ Moama (East and West): 30 (18% from total formal offences)
§ Nowra South: 28 (17% from total formal offences)
§ Narooma: 20 (12% from total formal offences)
Above: a compliance check on Sussex Inlet
Statewide there were 2080 safety checks undertaken, with 88 penalty notices and 227 official cautions.
NSW Maritime Executive Director, Mark Hutchings said the good news is the vast majority of boaters and Jet Skiers – about 88 per cent - showed they know, understand and follow the rules which exist to keep everyone safe on NSW waterways.
“The top three types of fines issued were for either not wearing or carrying a lifejacket and expired licenses and registrations. Speeding was also an issue, particularly among Jet Ski riders.” Mr Hutchings said.
Top three official cautions issued over the weekend included either not carrying a licence or expired licences and registrations, not wearing or carrying a lifejacket and lack of safety equipment.
“If you’re doing the wrong thing, you will get caught, and if it’s not next week it will be the week after,” Mr Hutchings said.
NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers carried out the statewide compliance blitz up and down the coast of NSW and inland including along the Murray River, ahead of the Australia Day public holiday to remind people to stay safe on the water.
Mr Hutchings said in 2021 the majority of fatalities were a result of not wearing a lifejacket.
“We want everyone heading out on the water this Australia Day to come home safely. Thirteen out of the 16 people who died last year weren’t wearing a life jacket.
“Wearing a lifejacket while you’re on the water is the best and simplest thing you can do to stay safe.”
“We’ve also seen a number of injuries on our waterways as a result of propeller strike and involving rough conditions,” he said.
Mr Hutchings said with the boating season in full swing, and an ongoing rise in paddlecraft users, the focus of the campaign was to remind boaters, jet ski riders and kayakers the importance of checking the weather before heading out, the importance of wearing a lifejacket and compliance on the water including, speeding, anti-social behaviour, towing, and wash.
“Our message to boaters this Australia Day, is to have fun but always keep safety top-of-mind when heading out on the water. Always wear a lifejacket, always keep a proper lookout and check the weather before and during the trip. Weather can change quickly and conditions can turn dangerous for boaters.
Education officers joined on-water officers to target boat ramps across NSW to educate boaters about on-water behaviour, lifejacket requirements, speed and vessel safety.
During the weekend, Boating Safety Officers carried out more than 2080 random safety checks from Tweed Heads on the north coast and south to the Victorian border, and along inland lakes and waterways including the entire Murray River.