Lifejacket safety focus on Illawarra waterways

11 December 2012

Lifejacket safety will be a focus of Boating Safety Officers’ activity in the Illawarra with the launch of a new campaign encouraging everyone to wear lifejackets at all times when on the water.

Roads and Maritime Services South Coast Acting Regional Manager Rod McDonagh said the new campaign reminds people modern lifejackets are comfortable and lightweight enough to be worn all day.

“A lifejacket never ruined a day on the water – that’s the message this campaign gets across,” Mr McDonagh said.

“Gone are the days of the bulky and uncomfortable orange lifejackets which restrict your movement and make you feel like you’ve put on 20 kilos.

“Modern lifejackets are lightweight, comfortable and convenient.

“They can be worn all day without stopping you from having fun, whether you’re fishing from a tinny, towing your mates while they waterski or out for a day on the water with the kids.

“We want people to make it a habit to wear a lifejacket before you head out on the water.”

Mr McDonagh said conditions can change quickly, both offshore and on the region’s rivers, bays and harbours. Wearing a lifejacket all the time is the best way to protect yourself from the unexpected.

“No one expects to fall in the water and get separated from their vessel. No one expects that years of swimming experience will be rendered useless if they slip and hit their head or fall in the water fully clothed,” he said.

During the 10 years to June 2012, 93 per cent of the 167 people who died on NSW waterways were not wearing a lifejacket.

“Sadly, I’m confident many of these people would still be alive today if they were wearing lifejackets,” Mr McDonagh said.

“It’s no good just having lifejackets stowed away on board. A lifejacket can only save your life if you’re wearing it, that’s what this campaign is all about.

“As well as wearing your lifejacket, make sure it’s in good condition and the appropriate size and type for your activity.”

The lifejacket safety campaign will appear across a range of media locally including on radio and television, on billboards and in pub and clubs. The campaign is also running in fishing and outdoor lifestyle magazines and newspapers statewide.

Mr McDonagh said as an added incentive Boating Safety Officers conducting random safety inspections of recreational vessels will give away tickets to the New Year’s Test match and the One Day Series matches at the SCG as well NSW SpeedBlitz Blues cricket matches to everyone on board if they are all wearing lifejackets.

“It’s a fun way of rewarding people who choose to maximise safety by always wearing a lifejacket,” Mr McDonagh said.

For more information about lifejacket safety visit lifejacketwearit.com.au

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