New boating education officers deployed in NSW

23 January 2014

New boating education officers deployed in NSW

People heading to boating hotspots around NSW now have greater access to first hand boating information and advice with nine Boating Education Officers (BEO) being deployed in the field this week.

The Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, said the State’s first BEOs will be located at Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Newcastle, Port Stephens, Hawkesbury River/Broken Bay, Botany Bay/Port Hacking, Port Kembla and Batemans Bay, with a further four expected to start in January.

“This is part of the $20 million identified savings to be returned to frontline services announced in August last year,” Mr Fraser said.

“The primary role of Boating Education Officers is to raise boating safety awareness and provide safety information to the public from the shore.”

BEOs will support Roads and Maritime Services Boating Safety Officers (BSO) by engaging with the public and providing services where our customers are located. As part of their role, BEOs will be reminding boaters of the importance of wearing a lifejacket.

“Wearing a life jacket needs to become a habit, a bit like putting on sunscreen, because one day it might just save your life,” Mr Fraser said

“The 62 Boating Safety Officers working for Roads and Maritime across NSW often travel long distances on the road to reach the State’s inland and coastal waterways. They then spend long hours on the water leaving little time to engage with the public on shore.” Research has shown increasing education for the boating public is one of the most effective ways to reduce boating fatalities.”

The new BEOs are part of a state wide campaign to promote safe and responsible boating, including the advertising and YouTube campaign.

General Manager of the Maritime Management Centre Howard Glenn said the Boating Education Officers will focus on providing face to face boating safety information, including life jacket wear requirements and the zero tolerance approach for breaches of lifejacket law.

“Over the last ten years, nine out of ten people who drowned while boating, were not wearing a lifejacket. The State’s biggest ever lifejacket awareness campaign is well underway with a number of key initiatives being rolled out, including a lifejacket van that allows boaters to swap old lifejackets and receive new generation lifejackets at a discounted price across the State,” Mr Glenn said.

For boating safety information and campaigns, go to www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime

View original media release (pdf)

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