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Operation Safe Return this weekend

Operation Safe Return this weekend will see Boating Safety Officers hitting the waters of the South Coast and Murray River reminding boaters to make good decisions before and during a boating trip in order to get home safely.

Operation Safe Return to southern NSW shores

NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers will hit the waters of the South Coast and Murray River for the next three days, reminding boaters to make good decisions before and during a boating trip so they get home safely.

NSW Maritime Acting Executive Director Andrew Mogg said the compliance and safety operation had been timed to coincide with extra visitors expected from the long weekends in the ACT, Victoria and South Australia.

“Our waterways in the south of NSW are world class and a large percentage of boaters originate from these surrounding states. What better time to have our Boating Safety Officers out in force, reminding people what they need to do to keep safe when boating – particularly when going offshore,” Mr Mogg said.

“We have had a tough 12 months with nine fatalities, seven on the South Coast and two on the Murray River – too many lives have been lost.

“Open waters can be dangerous and require a certain level of training to navigate safely. Operation Safe Return will focus on educating boaters, both new and experienced, about the required safety equipment and how to boat offshore safely.”

NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers will also be targeting boaters trying to cross coastal bars, by educating them on how to do so safely.

“Coastal bars can be very dangerous – they have strong currents and large breaking waves which can change quickly with the tide and weather. Even in calm conditions, vessels can be swamped, damaged or wrecked,” Mr Mogg said.

“This weekend the conditions are predicted to be particularly dangerous, with large waves and powerful swell along the coast. If in doubt, do not go out.”

On inland southern NSW waterways such as the Murray River, Lakes Eucumbene and Jindabyne, the focus will be on reminding boaters about the different set of challenges they face in keeping safe – particularly with submerged and semi-submerged objects.

“Last year there were two fatalities on the Murray River involving vessels striking submerged and semi-submerged objects. So this weekend we will be patrolling inland waterways educating boaters on towing safety, how to keep a proper lookout, safe speed and rules and responsibilities for drivers,” he said.

Operation Safe Return will continue from sun up on Saturday to sundown on Monday, with more than 20 Boating Safety Officers stationed at key locations.

Boaters heading offshore should always log on and log off with Marine Rescue NSW.

More information on safe boating can be found at https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime/using-waterways/designated/open.html and https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime/using-waterways/designated/alpine.html

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