by Penny Robins
NSW Maritime is urging boaters once again check the forecast before going boating with three people missing now missing on NSW waters following two separate capsize incidents on the long weekend NSW Maritime Chief Executive Steve Dunn.
Mr Dunn stated that Boating Safety Officers, who were out across the State for NSW Maritime’s hypothermia safety awareness campaign were kept busy assisting in search and rescue efforts and helping boaters who had ventured out despite warnings of bad weather.
'Poor weather over much of the NSW coast resulted in several boating accidents – from the Tweed to the Hawkesbury Rivers - the worst of which had resulted in three missing people,' Mr Dunn said.
'A teenage girl remains missing, believed not to be wearing a lifejacket, after the dinghy she was in capsized at Green Point on Lake Macquarie on Saturday. The two males who were in the boat and also ended up in the water made it to shore safely.'
Meanwhile, a male in his 20s and a male in his 30s – neither of whom are believed to know how to swim or are wearing lifejackets - remain missing after their dinghy capsized at Wiseman’s Ferry on the Hawkesbury. Another man who had been travelling with the pair was lucky to make it out of the water.
On Thursday, NSW Maritime issued a warning for those in small craft to be on high alert and check the conditions before heading out after the Bureau of Meteorology forecast dangerous surf conditions. Mr Dunn said with more bad weather on the way, it was crucial that skippers used all resources available to them to check the weather before planning a boating trip.
'It also can’t be repeated enough that there should be sufficient lifejackets for everyone on board, and they should be worn during times of heightened risk such as in poor weather,' Mr Dunn said. Operation Cold Water hypothermia boating safety awareness campaign resulted in the following:
• Sydney – three penalty notices (fines) issued, 98 vessels checked
• Hunter/ Inland – no penalty notices issued, with 37 vessels checked
• Hawkesbury River/ Broken Bay – no penalty notices issued, 30 vessels checked
• North Coast – two penalty notices issued, 73 vessels checked
• Murray/ Inland – 17 penalty notices issued, 158 vessels checked
• South Coast – two penalty notices issued, 157 vessels checked
The majority of penalty notices were issued for missing safety equipment, including lifejackets, followed by missing safety labels (capacity plate) and unregistered vessels.