Operation Piccolo to target small boat safety

11 October 2013

Roads and Maritime Services will target small power boat operators in a statewide boating safety campaign starting on Saturday, 12 October. The campaign aims to improve boater awareness of common risks and save lives.

Roads and Maritime Director of Maritime Michael Wright said as part of Operation Piccolo, Roads and Maritime boating safety officers (BSOs) will randomly stop skippers of small power boats to ensure they are aware of safety requirements with the aim of reducing the number of boating incidents.

“In the 12 months to July this year, there were 45 incidents involving powered vessels less than six metres long,” Mr Wright said.

“These incidents resulted in nine fatalities, 12 serious injuries and 10 minor injuries.

“Most incidents occurred when a vessel capsized or a person fell overboard. Eight of the nine people who lost their lives in NSW small boating incidents in the past year were not wearing a lifejacket.

“This boating season a zero tolerance policy applies to lifejacket breaches.

“Anyone boating at night, offshore or alone on a small boat must wear a lifejacket at all times.

“Children younger than 12 years old need to wear a lifejacket at all times in vessels less than 4.8 metres long and in open areas of vessels 4.8 metres to 8 metres long in motion.

“It is the skipper’s responsibility to ensure the correct number of lifejackets are on board for each person, are in good condition, easily accessible and appropriate for the people who may need to wear them and the circumstances.

“Lifejackets need to be well fitting and worn when required according to NSW lifejacket legislation.

“BSOs will also be checking boaters’ understand the idea of times of heightened risk such as during bad weather or when the boat has broken down. Lifejackets must also be worn in these circumstances,” Mr Wright said.

Operation Piccolo will run for nine days with Roads and Maritime to advise the community of the results shortly after.

For boating safety information including about lifejackets visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au

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