Safer night lighting the responsibility of boaters

17 October 2013

The latest statewide boating safety crackdown has highlighted concerns boaters are not ensuring they have adequate night lighting.

Road and Maritime Services Maritime Director Michael Wright said during Operation Boat Ramp, carried out from 21 to 29 September, Boating Safety Officers (BSO) conducted random checks and interviews with boaters as they launched and retrieved their vessels at boat ramps across NSW.

“While most boaters were found to understand safety requirements and be sufficiently prepared before heading out on the water, some boaters did not understand the requirements for lighting a vessel correctly at night,” Mr Wright said.

"Lights on boats are essential for safety at night.

"Where cars use headlights to light up a road, boats operate quite differently and use lights to help indicate how a boat is being operated and where it is headed.

"A boat without lights is a danger to all other traffic on that waterway while the crew are also at risk.

“Navigation lights should be mounted to provide optimum night vision and allow the boat to be seen by others from every direction as soon as the sun goes down or when visibility is poor.

"Every skipper is responsible for the safety of their vessel and all those on board, and importantly, that means taking extra care at night.

"Due to the heightened risks at night, lifejackets must be worn by everyone on board vessels of less than 4.8m. Vessels of this size are less stable and more susceptible to capsize and swamping when compared with larger craft. These are safety basics and if boaters are not prepared to meet them, they should not be taking their vessels out at night.

“Our Boating Safety Officers patrol waters from inland lakes and dams to well offshore and are always happy to answer any questions, I encourage boaters to approach them,” Mr Wright said.

During the campaign, 574 vessels were checked by BSOs in the Sydney region, with 433 vessels checked in the northern part of NSW and 257 in southern NSW. The Mobile Safety Education and Compliance Team (MSECT) conducted 78 checks at Shoalhaven, Sussex Inlet, St Georges Basin, Basin View, Port Botany, Oatley Bay, Kyeemagh and Revesby boat ramps.

For more information about safety equipment requirements and boat ramp etiquette, go to or

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