NSW Maritime has issued a reminder to boaters of the dangers of cold weather and cold water.
NSW Maritime Chief Executive Steve Dunn said over the June long weekend, NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers would be alerting boaters to the extra risks during the colder months.
'Operation Cold Water aims to raise awareness of the causes and prevention of hypothermia,' Mr Dunn said.
'In the past five years, there have been 12 serious incidents reported involving hypothermia, including five fatal incidents where hypothermia was considered a factor - put simply, cold water can kill,' he said.
'With much of NSW experiencing some of the coldest weather in years, it is important boaters are alert to the dangers of hypothermia.'
Hypothermia is experienced when the body’s core temperature drops, which leads to confusion, disorientation and loss of consciousness. Hypothermia can increase your risk of drowning if you are in the water.
· Ensure all passengers have enough warm clothing for the conditions;
· Check the weather;
· Know when to wear a lifejacket;
· Tell someone where you are going and when you expect to return;
· Ensure the boat is suitable for the conditions.
Mr Dunn said when boating, there is always a chance of capsize, swamping or falling in the water - especially for people in smaller craft. He reminded boaters swimming in heavy clothes or in waders was almost impossible.
'Waders should be avoided in boats unless a lifejacket is worn at all times,' Mr Dunn said.
'A lifejacket will keep you afloat and will also offer insulation against the cold.'
It is now law in NSW to wear a lifejacket in a variety of heightened risk situations including: children under the age of 12, anyone boating alone, at night, in a boat less than 4.8m; and for everyone on board a boat less than 4.8m when on alpine waters or offshore.
More hypothermia safe boating tips here