Operation Boatsafe promoting lifejacket use helps save lives

14 December 2015

Roads and Maritime Services Maritime Director Angus Mitchell said Operation Boatsafe: Wear a Lifejacket ended successfully yesterday with almost 90 per cent of boaters responsibly using lifejackets.

Mr Mitchell said boaters were more aware than ever of the importance lifejackets play in saving lives.

“The statewide boating safety campaign Operation Boatsafe started last weekend with the main focus of ensuring boaters wear a lifejacket,” Mr Mitchell said.

“Last year there were 282 reported boating incidents and statistics show nine out of 10 people who drown when boating are not wearing a lifejacket so complacency simply isn’t an option.

“The nine day boating safety operation started with Boating Education Officers visiting key waterside locations around the state to provide important safety information before the enforcement action started.

“Officers targeted vessels at random checking compliance with safety requirements. More than 1400 safety checks were completed with 68 penalty notices and 93 formal warnings issued.

“With almost 90 per cent of boaters safely wearing a lifejacket, 10 per cent of boaters still need to improve for us to continue our long term goal of reducing fatal boating incidents.”

Mr Mitchell said with successful compliance operations such as Operation Boatsafe working in tandem with a broader education campaign, lifejacket wear had increased 300 per cent since 2007 with a zero tolerance approach to ignoring lifejacket rules.

“All boat operators and skippers are responsible for the safe operation of their vessels and everyone on board. This includes following the maritime regulations of wearing a lifejacket and all other safety requirements,” Mr Mitchell said.

“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.

“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 www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime or www.lifejacketwearit.com.au.

Roads and Maritime Services Media Unit 8588 5999 or media@rms.nsw.gov.au

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