Operation Safety at Night highlights need for increased education

7 May 2014

Roads and Maritime Services will continue night patrols and step up efforts to educate boaters around requirements for safe lighting after last month’s campaign showed a gap in boater understanding.

Maritime Director Angus Mitchell said more than 950 vessel safety checks were carried out during Operation Safety At Night, with 142 actually carried out at night.

“As a result of safety inspections, 74 penalty notices, 54 formal warnings and 76 verbal warnings were issued,” Mr Mitchell said.

“While this shows an overall compliance rate of 86 per cent of boaters travelling at night and displaying appropriate lighting, there is room for improvement.

“In relation to navigation lights which are required by law and vital to boater safety, six penalty notices, 14 formal warnings and 26 verbal warnings were issued.”

Overall Boating Safety Officers found skippers required further education navigation light requirements, specifically relating to the correct placement of lights and use of the all round white light.

“We run regular statewide boating safety campaigns for a reason. They help us target where education efforts must be directed,” Mr Mitchell said.

“What we have learned education will be key on our waterways to highlight the difference between safe boating during the day and at night, which is a totally different experience with extra associated risks.

“It is a legal requirement for all boats regardless of their size or whether they are at anchor or under way to exhibit the correct lights between sunset and sunrise and during periods of reduced visibility.

“At night, special caution is required in terms of navigation as many potential hazards may not be lit or may not be easily seen.”

Mr Mitchell said Boating Safety Officers would carry out additional night patrols and Boating Education Officers would spend more time engaging people at boat ramps and schools about safe night boating law, requirements and the penalties for non-compliance.

For more information on night boating safety, visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime

CONTACT: Roads and Maritime Services Media Unit:  8588 5999

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