Spotlight on boating safety compliance starting this weekend
16 February 2018
Operation Safety First will be rolled out on all NSW waterways from this weekend, focusing on compliance with safe boating laws relating to towing, speeding and wash.
Roads and Maritime Services Executive Director Maritime Angus Mitchell said this time of the year continues to be popular for waterskiing, wake boarding, knee boarding and tubing across NSW, so it was crucial safety came first for all involved.
“There are a few absolute basics when it comes to towing, such as always ensuring anyone being towed is wearing a lifejacket, the observer is fully aware of their responsibilities and above all, the skipper is always responsible for all personnel,” Mr Mitchell said.
“The vessel must have a minimum crew of two – the person driving and an observer who sits facing the direction of the person being towed to provide any communication, via standard hand signals, about what is going on in the water to the driver.
“The observer also tells the driver about other vessels approaching from behind. The observer must be at least 16 years old and appropriately qualified, as the holder of a boat or personal watercraft licence.
“It is illegal to tow more than three people and it is crucial all safe distances from other vessels, structures such as bridges, piers and the shore, and most importantly, people who are swimming, diving or snorkelling, are observed.
“Breaches of these regulations will result in on the spot fines.
“Boating Safety Officers will also be on the look out for boaties who are speeding or whose wash is having a negative impact on other waterway users,” he said.
The operation starts on Saturday 17 February and continues until sundown on Sunday 25 February.