Sydney’s waterways are some of the best places on earth to spend the summer, but the surge in activity means people need to be extra careful in keeping an eye out for others.
NSW Maritime ran Operation Stay Afloat – Summer Safe across the first weekend of the season, calling on boaters to play their part to make it the safest summer yet.
NSW Maritime Principal Manager Shane Davey said it is great to see large numbers of people enjoying our waterways, and basic precautions are the best way to avoid tragedy.
“We’re getting some sensational weather, but a day on the water can be unpredictable. A quick check of conditions and safety equipment before you set out is the simplest way to help you and your passengers have a good time,” Mr Davey said.
“Summer is always particularly busy with big crowds of swimmers, surfers, boaters, kayakers and jetskiers all hitting the water. We also have plenty of boaties heading offshore to go deep sea fishing, where conditions can change in an instant.
“Rough weather conditions are a factor in almost one third of fatal and serious incidents, so it’s really important boaters are looking ahead and monitoring the forecasts.
“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. Check conditions before and during your trip and if in doubt, don’t go out.”
Since the start of the boating season in October, NSW Maritime has recorded over 1200 offences across the state, with more than a third of those for lifejacket non-compliance.
“Of the 14 fatalities on New South Wales waterways over the last year, 10 were not wearing a lifejacket,” Mr Davey said.
As part of Operation Stay Afloat – Summer Safe, Boating Safety Officers conducted almost 600 vessel safety checks on Sydney waterways as part of a two-day compliance blitz. There were 120 offences recorded, with 25 per cent of those relating to safety equipment non-compliance.
For more on safety equipment, visit https://www.nsw.gov.au/driving-boating-and-transport/waterways-safety-and-rules/lifejackets-and-safety-equipment