NSW Maritime calls for safety in the south


Boaters on the state’s inland waterways have been put on notice, with Operation Stay Afloat – Safer South carried out by NSW Maritime over the weekend.

The safety blitz targeted waterways in the state’s south with Boating Safety Officers conducting over 350 vessel safety checks. There were 49 offences recorded, with 50 per cent of those lifejacket related. 

NSW Maritime Principal Manager Deon Voyer said the Murray-Inland rates the worst in the state when it comes to lifejacket compliance, with almost 3000 offences over the last five years.

“We had cracking weather across the weekend in the south-west of the state, and plenty of boaters made the most of our inland waterways,” Mr Voyer said.

“Unfortunately, in what’s become a concerning trend for this area, we saw far too much complacency and misunderstanding around lifejacket wear and suitability, particularly on the Murray River and alpine waterways. 

“There have been 13 boating related fatalities on New South Wales waterways over the last year, and 10 of those were not wearing a lifejacket.

“70 per cent of deaths in the last 12 months were on inland waterways. Just because there aren’t waves or coastal bars, it doesn’t mean there aren’t dangers.

“Submerged hazards such as trees and rocks are often lurking just beneath the surface and water levels can rise and fall dramatically. Check the conditions before you launch.”

NSW Maritime Director Mark Scali said it was a busy weekend with many Victorians crossing the border to enjoy their unofficial long weekend ahead of Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.

“It doesn’t matter which state you’re from, safety, and the rules don’t discriminate,” Mr Scali said. 

“A lifejacket in a bag in the corner won’t save you, you need to be wearing it and have one that is properly serviced and fitted. It’s the most important piece of safety equipment you can have on your vessel.”

Find out more about lifejacket safety here: https://www.lifejacketwearit.com.au/