Maritime Operation: ‘Boat Smart’

1 December 2011

A statewide boating safety campaign will take place from 3-11 December, Maritime Services Acting Deputy Chief Executive Michael Wright said.

Mr Wright said Operation Boat Smart would focus on safety equipment and the basic ‘keep right’ rule.

“NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers will be active across the State as part of this safety operation,” Mr Wright said. “Operation Boat Smart is part of a safety compliance and education program designed to help make our waterways safe.

Mr Wright said Maritime Boating Safety Officers would conduct on-the-spot safety checks out on the water and visit boating safety equipment retailers to encourage the industry to promote the ‘Don’t Expire’ initiative to customers.

“Many boats have safety gear on board that can carry an expiry date,” Mr Wright said. “Such items include emergency distress flares, emergency position indicating radio beacons (EPIRB) and inflatable lifejackets.

“Don’t Expire means skippers should check such equipment and ensure it is in good condition, serviceable and ready for use if and when needed.”

From July 2010 to May 2011 there were four boating fatalities on NSW waters. However, an unfortunate spate of fatal incidents in June this year claimed seven lives. Since 1 July 2011 there have been another 10 fatalities and regrettably only one of the 17 deceased in this period is known to have been wearing a lifejacket. Most of the situations were what would be considered times of ‘heightened risk’, when lifejackets should have been worn.

Campaign focus:

  • Ensure all vessel operators comply with safety equipment, including lifejacket requirements
  • Ensure flares and EPIRB are in date and inflatable lifejackets are serviced
  • BSOs to visit boating safety equipment retailers to promote the ‘Don’t Expire’ initiative and the requirement to advise customers of the need to have inflatable lifejackets serviced.
  • Educate boaters on the new lifejacket laws introduced 1 November 2010 and the increased requirements to wear a lifejacket in times of heightened risk particularly:
    • In a boat less than 4.8m
    • At night
    • On open (ocean) waters
    • When boating alone
  • Ensure that masters of vessels are educated in relation to navigating on the right hand side of the waterway (target narrow waterways).

Maritime Services is a division of Roads and Maritime Services.

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