Weekend warriors reminded to be weather - wise


NSW Maritime is urging boaters in the state’s North to take heed of weather and wind warnings, with rough weather conditions a factor in almost one third of fatal and serious incidents.

As part of Operation Stay Afloat - Weather Wise, Boating Safety Officers conducted more than 300 vessel safety checks over a two-day compliance blitz.

The weekend operation was enhanced by Maritime’s newest facility, the North Incident Coordination Centre (NICC) which is now up and running in Coffs Harbour.

NSW Maritime State Coordinator Damian Logue said that the NICC plays a pivotal role as a Northern region base to manage events such as natural disasters and boating safety compliance operations.

“State-of-the-art communications technology and CCTV gives us full visibility of what’s going on at coastal bars and boat ramps, and allows us to communicate with Boating Safety Officers on the ground in real-time. 

The centre can also be used to manage the state’s road network and transport infrastructure in an emergency,” Mr Logue said.

NSW Maritime Principal Manager Sonia McKay said that despite the grey skies, waterways were busy across the weekend, and it was a good opportunity to remind boaters about being prepared for every possibility.

“Whether it’s out off the coast or on inland waterways, we’ve seen how conditions can change in an instant from sunny and calm to pouring rain, strong winds, large waves and powerful currents,” Ms McKay said.

“Unfortunately, our data tells us that boaters are nearly seven times more likely to be involved in a serious incident when weather conditions are rough.

“It’s not worth the risk. Monitor conditions before and during your trip, have a Plan B to move to a more protected waterway if conditions take a turn for the worse, and if in doubt, don’t go out.

“Checking online, marine VHF radio and smart phone apps are at your fingertips to check weather information anytime. We’ve also worked with the Bureau of Meteorology to create weather resources specifically for boaters.”

Of the 14 fatalities on New South Wales waterways over the last year, 10 were not wearing a lifejacket.

“Wearing a lifejacket is the number one way to keep yourself and your family safe, but it can only save your life if you’re wearing it. Don’t forget, inflatable lifejackets must be serviced every 12 months to ensure the CO2 cannister is intact and the bladder is leak-proof,” Ms McKay said.

For in-depth explainer videos about wave conditions, weather warnings and forecasts and wind conditions, visit https://www.lifejacketwearit.com.au/boatingsafety/weather-conditions