Paddlers get thumbs up in safety test

Paddlers get thumbs up in safety test

5 March 2014

More than 1000 people out in canoes and kayaks on State waters were checked in the recent blitz on paddle craft compliance.

Roads and Maritime Services Acting Director Maritime Michael Wright said 1023 paddlers were stopped randomly on the water by Boating Safety Officers and at boat ramps and other locations by Boating Education Officers (BEOs) before launching their craft during Operation Paddle Safe, from 15 to 23 February.

“A number of paddlers were not aware of when a lifejacket was required to be worn when out on a kayak or a canoe,” Mr Wright said.

“While 18 penalty notices were issued for not complying with requirements to wear a lifejacket, a number of warnings were also given to paddlers approaching the limits for when a lifejacket must be worn.

“Anyone in a canoe or kayak more than 100 metres from shore, on open waters, alpine waters or white water must wear a lifejacket at all times.

“During the past decade, nine out of 10 people who drowned while boating in NSW were not wearing a lifejacket.

“We want to see people get into the habit of putting on a lifejacket in the same way they put on sunscreen - it is simple and could save a life.”

Mr Wright said paddlers were also reminded to wear bright colours when out on the water for better visibility particularly as the craft are low-profile and can be difficult to see in the marine environment.

During the campaign, the team of 13 BEOs spoke to 293 paddlers while providing information on boating safety.

Paddle NSW estimates there are 70,000 canoeists and kayakers in NSW – a number which is increasing each year.

The campaign was part of a wider program of activities across Transport for NSW to promote safe and responsible use of paddle craft.

More information on paddle safety can be found at www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime or www.boatforlife.com.au/paddle-safe

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