Lifejacket use the long term solution to saving lives

6 December 2015

Boaters are more cognisant than ever of the role lifejackets play in saving lives and ensuring they wear one is the main focus of the statewide boating safety campaign which started this weekend.

Roads and Maritime Services Maritime Director Angus Mitchell said Operation Boatsafe: Wear a Lifejacket runs until sundown on Sunday 13 December.

“Lifejacket wear has increased 300 per cent since 2007 in NSW however with 282 reported boating incidents on NSW waterways last year, nine out 10 people who drown when boating are not wearing a lifejacket,” Mr Mitchell said.

“The long-term picture is fatal boating incidents continue to decline. However, complacency is not an option.

“Awareness testing shows while 80 per cent of the boating community are aware of the importance of wearing lifejackets, observationally only 30 to 40 per cent are actually wearing them.

“During the nine day operation, Roads and Maritime Boating Education Officers will target key waterside locations to provide important safety information ahead of an enforcement focus starting next weekend with Boating Safety Officers to target vessels at random and check compliance with safety requirements.

“Boat operators, or skippers, are responsible for the safety of their vessel and the people on board and ensuring all those aboard follow the requirements for wearing a lifejacket.

“Skippers need to be constantly aware of their responsibilities on the waterways, continually observing maritime regulations and safety requirements.

“Before boating, skippers must ensure it is safe to go out and the vessel has all the required safety equipment on board, including the appropriate navigational lights at night.”

“Boating Safety Officers will have a zero tolerance approach to ignoring lifejacket rules. On-the-spot fines will apply to those found to be in breach of maritime law.

“Children under 12 years of age must wear a lifejacket at all times in vessels under 4.8 metres, or when in the open part of vessels up to eight metres.

“Wear a lifejacket.

“If you’re using an inflatable type, make sure it has been serviced as required by the manufacturer and the gas bottle is fitted correctly,” Mr Mitchell said.

For more information on skipper responsibilities and boating safety, visit

Roads and Maritime Services Media Unit 8588 5999 or

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