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Perth tightens safety laws - EPIRBs compulsory over 2nm

by Sail-World Cruising Round-up on 24 Sep 2013
Perth metropolitan coastline to Rottnest .. .
Perth's Department of Transport makes the carrying of an EPIRB after January 2014 compulsory if two nautical miles off the metropolitan coast. It was not a sailor that brought about the change, it was a fisherman, but the new edict will affect all cruising sailors who set to sea.

The incident that caused the change was the tragic drowning of a man on a fishing trip in 2010.

An inquest into the death of Ricardo Madeira da Silva, who died when his fishing boat capsized off Two Rocks, was told an emergency position indicating radio beacon - or EPIRB - could have saved the young father.

As a result, former state coroner Alastair Hope recommended an exclusion zone over part of the Perth coast, which precluded boat owners from having to carry a beacon, be reviewed.

The Department of Transport said on Monday that from January 1 next year all skippers navigating more than two nautical miles off the metropolitan coast will need an EPIRB, with the exemption zone from Garden Island to Mindarie Keys and out to Rottnest Island to be abolished.

'New generation EPIRBs provide exact location coordinates greatly enhancing the chance of rescue and survival in an emergency on the water,' said David Harrod, the Department of Transport's Marine Safety general manager.

'EPIRBs can significantly reduce the time it takes to rescue people and on the water this can be the difference between life and death.'

There were 85 recorded recreational boating incidents in the exempt zone between 2008 and 2012, with more than 52,000 registered recreational vessels in the metropolitan area

It is estimated that up to 20 per cent of that number will now need an EPIRB following the introduction of the new laws, which will see skippers warned and then fined if found without a beacon on board.
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