Zero tolerance for boating safety breaches

14 September 2020

A tough crackdown on boating safety breaches in NSW will start from this weekend to help save lives on the water.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said there had been an unacceptable number of boating incidents during winter, with too many of those resulting in fatalities.

“Five people have sadly lost their lives on NSW waters since the start of July. None of them were wearing a lifejacket, but all of them left behind grieving families,” Mr Constance said.

“The peak boating season doesn’t begin until the October long weekend but already we are seeing too many people flouting boating safety rules, or unaware of them.”

Centre for Maritime Safety Executive Director Bernard Carlon says ongoing COVID-19 restrictions on other recreational activities appears to be resulting in more people heading out on the water.

“There has been a noticeable increase in the number of people applying for a boat licence in the middle of winter, with July up 50 per cent to 1470 applications on the same time last year,” Mr Carlon said.

“The safety of boaters remains our top priority as we approach the peak boating season over spring and summer.”

NSW Police Marine Area Command Commander Acting Superintendent Joe McNulty said fines will be handed out by NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers and Police Officers for failing to wear or carry lifejackets, speeding, unsafe towing activities and personal watercraft infringements.

“Repeated warnings have been falling on deaf ears and, quite frankly, too many people are coming to grief on our waterways,” A/Supt McNulty said.

“Thirty-five per cent of the 2,247 fines issued in 2019/20 were for not wearing a lifejacket when alone or with children under 12.”

“There is no excuse for risky behaviour which could result in serious harm or even death for yourself and others, especially when there are children onboard.”

Link to new vision: Water rescue vision pack.

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