Operation "Be Prepared" marks start of new boating season

24 September 2014

Roads and Maritime Services Boating Safety Officers (BSOs) will be out in force on NSW waters from this Saturday to ensure boaters are properly prepared for the new boating season.

Roads and Maritime Services Maritime Director Angus Mitchell said Operation Be Prepared would run statewide until Monday 6 October on rivers, dams and coastal waters across the state.

“Boating activity increases from the upcoming October long weekend, which also marks the start of the new boating season,” Mr Mitchell said.

“With more families on holidays and weather conditions improving, more boaters will head out on waterways and the message to boaters is no matter your level of experience, you must be prepared.

“Operation Be Prepared will see BSOs randomly checking boats to ensure skippers are complying with the essential safety requirements while also promoting appropriate maintenance of vessel and gear.

“Safety equipment checks will be carried out to ensure all required equipment such as emergency beacons, lifejackets and flares are on board and appropriately maintained or serviced.

“Roads and Maritime BSOs will also remind skippers to routinely check the condition of the hull, motor, battery, fuel and safety equipment.”

Mr Mitchell said there would also be an emphasis on lifejacket safety awareness, which forms part of all boating safety campaigns.

“While more people than ever are wearing lifejackets out on NSW waters, we need to ensure, as required by law, children under age 12 are wearing lifejackets at all times in vessels smaller than 4.8 metres and in open areas of a moving vessel 4.8 metres to eight metres,” he said.

“Enough lifejackets need to be on board for each person, in good condition, easily accessible and appropriate for the wearer and the conditions.

“The campaign will also focus on the importance of checking the weather forecast while planning a boating trip as well as monitoring regular weather reports during boating, especially if changes are predicted.”

Mr Mitchell said the operation would also focus on educating boaters about the prevention of vessel fires, especially on boats with inboard petrol engines commonly used in towing activities.

“Vessel operators will be educated on the safe operation of inboard petrol engines and the dangers associated refuelling, leaving cowlings open to reduce explosive fuel/air vapour mix and the need to regularly inspecting the bilge to reduce the risk of fires,” he said.

The community is invited to attend fun, free activites to mark Boating Safety Day this Sunday 28 September from 10am to 2pm at Evans Head boat ramp, Lake Mulwala Ski Club on the Murray River, Hanging Rock boat ramp at Batemans Bay, Rowland Reserve overlooking Pittwater and Pelican Foreshore Reserve overlooking Lake Macquarie.

For more information on boating safety, go to Maritime.

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