Delivering a clear message to improve diver safety
Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay today launched the NSW Government’s Dive Safe campaign, which includes videos and flag displays to improve awareness of divers using NSW coastal waterways.
Mr Gay said the campaign was focused on promoting safer diving behaviours and improving awareness for boaties to help identify where divers might be encountered.
“The consequences of divers being struck by a boat can be horrific, that’s why it is so important divers and boaties ensure they are doing their bit to prevent these accidents,” Mr Gay said.
“We’ve had serious incidents, including two fatalities in the past ten years, involving divers being hit by a vessel or its propellers in NSW waters, which were caused by a lack of awareness by boaties of the location of divers.
“The campaign is designed to deliver a single, clear message. We want skippers to look out for, and divers to use, the internationally recognised blue and white ‘diver-below’ flags, which indicate a diver is in the area and to stay at least 60 metres clear of it.
“In our diving community, snorkelers and spearfishers are at particular risk as they spend most of their time on the surface. Scuba divers can also be exposed to contact with vessels if forced to surface suddenly or if they surface a distance away from their boat or the shore.
“Divers are also reminded to be responsible, whether you are a scuba diver, spear fisherman or snorkeler, make sure you display the blue and white flags correctly.
“I also recommend you add a high visibility fluoro yellow or green flag for extra visibility.
“The campaign will be spearheaded by three new safety videos, which can be downloaded from the NSW Transport website: www.transport.nsw.gov.au/mmc.
“We will also be providing samples of the ‘diver-below’ flags to dive clubs and associations, we will give them out to people on the water and provide demonstrations at boat ramps and boating events.
“We’ve had our best boating safety result in more than 20 years – for the 12 months ending 30 June eight fatalities were recorded state wide compared with 27 fatalities the year before.
“Let’s work together to continue to improve this outcome and also keep our divers safe this boating season,” Mr Gay said.