Don't mix alcohol and water over the long weekend
Centre for Maritime Safety Executive Director Bernard Carlon today urged the NSW boating public to be responsible with alcohol over the Australia Day long weekend.
Fine weather over recent weeks meant peak boating season was well and truly upon us, Mr Carlon said.
“Summer long weekends are a time for people to enjoy our magnificent waterways, socialising with family and friends.
“All skippers need to take extra care, observe the 0.05 blood alcohol limit and help ensure a good day out on the water remains a good memory.
“Tragically, seven lives have been lost in boating related incidents since July, compared with four fatalities for the same period the previous year.”
Mr Carlon said excess alcohol was one of the top five primary causes of fatal incidents on NSW waters.
“Boating is a relatively safe activity and we all want it to stay that way but incidents caused by excess alcohol have a higher likelihood of being serious,” he said.
“Police will be conducting random breath tests on people operating all types of vessels, from paddle craft and jetskis through to yachts and commercial vessels.”
Police tested more than 6000 people for drink driving on NSW waterways between October 1 and December 31 last year, returning nine positive results. They also conducted 58 mobile drug tests, returning three positive results.
“Results so far this season are encouraging, indicating a level of good behaviour among recreational boaters. But I would ask people to remain vigilant,” Mr Carlon said.
“The skipper of every vessel is responsible for the safety of their craft and all those on board. Driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs is only going to put their safety, and that of others, at risk.
“Skippers need to keep under 0.05 and everyone should wear a lifejacket, especially in small craft which are more susceptible to capsize and swamping.”
Alcohol was a factor in more than a quarter of boating and watercraft drowning deaths in Australia between 2005-2015, Royal Life Saving Society figures reveal.
“Australia Day is a time of special events on our waterways, including Sydney Harbour,” Mr Carlon said.
“It is important to not only keep under 0.05 but to observe special event restrictions on the water, and to keep a proper lookout and a safe speed for the conditions at all times.”
For more information: https://www.australiaday.com.au/plan-your-trip/waterways/