Statewide compliance operation to encourage boaters to slow down

10 March 2015

Roads and Maritime Services is reminding boaters to travel at a safe speed during Operation Slowdown, a statewide operation which starts on Saturday.

Maritime Director Angus Mitchell said Roads and Maritime Boating Safety Officers (BSOs) would focus patrols on speed limit areas and conduct random checks of vessels in a bid to reduce boating incidents related to skippers’ not observing safe speed or proper lookout requirements when operating a vessel.

“All vessels must be operated at a safe speed at all times. It is essential skippers are able to stop their boat in time to avoid any danger, and to be aware of the environmnent in which they are operating by keeping a proper lookout,” Mr Mitchell said.

“In the past five years, 1766 formal warnings and 1810 penalty notices have been issued for speed related boating offences in NSW, second only to the number of penalty notices issued for breaches of safety equipment and lifejacket wear.

“There were 50 reported incidents during the same time in which excessive speed was nominated as a contributing factor.”

Mr Mitchell said skippers should be aware of their surroundings and keep a proper lookout at all times for obstructions, other vessels and people in the water.

“Just like on the roads, a person driving a vessel must observe traffic signs which means following any speed restrictions which may apply.

“Sign posted speed restrictions on NSW waterways exist for public safety. Skippers should look out for them and travel below these limits.

Where there are no signs, a vessel must be driven at speeds which are safe and take into account environmental factors such as local traffic, visibilty and conditions.

“BSOs would also be checking for compliance with lifejacket laws and carrying out safety equipment checks.

“Remember – wear a lifejacket. It never ruined a day on the water.”

Operation Slow Down will continue until Sunday 22 March.

For more information on boating safety visit http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime/

CONTACT: Roads and Maritime Services Media Unit: 8588 5999

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