Boaters not wearing lifejackets was the main safety concern arising from Operation Icebreaker over the weekend.
by Neil Patchett
Steve Dunn from NSW Maritime said a joint boating safety operation had been conducted with the support of local police.
'NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers conducted on-water checks of 113 boats over the two days with a larger than normal number of boats on the water due to the early spring-like weather,' he said.
'Compliance rates with safety equipment and boater behaviour rules were good, and no one was found operating a boat under the influence of alcohol.
'While only four infringements and two formal warnings were issued over the whole weekend, a major concern is that passengers on board 1 in 5 of the boats checked either didn't know about lifejacket wearing laws introduced last November - or had chosen to ignore them.
'Fines were not issued because we are in the last stages of a 12-month educational phase tied to the introduction of this new law.
'The weather was good, and whilst plenty of boats were out, especially on Blowering Reservoir where the fishing was reportedly superb, when it comes to boating on alpine waters … people need to wear lifejackets.
'The simple message is, we want you to come home safe. At this time of year its easy to get tricked into thinking spring is already here but water temperatures are still freezing. If you end up in the water, hypothermia will set in within a few minutes. You won't be able to swim and without a lifejacket on you can easily drown before you can be rescued.'
Mr Dunn said the new lifejacket laws were introduced last year and the 12-month advisory period ends on 1 November. After that time, fines will apply for non compliance.
'I ask everyone who goes boating on alpine waters such as Jindabyne, Eucumbene, Talbingo, Blowering and Burrinjuck to make themselves familiar with the lifejacket laws,' he said.
Under the new rules, it is compulsory to wear lifejackets, including:
· Children under 12 at all times on alpine waters
· Everyone on a boat less than 4.8m on alpine waters
· Everyone on any sized boat when wearing waders on alpine waters
· And on alpine waters, everyone must wear a lifejacket:
o in a sailing vessel
o when sailboarding
o when kiteboarding
o when waterskiing
o using a PWC
o boating in ‘heightened risk’ situations
More info: http://www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/campaigns/lifejacket.html
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3:15 AM Mon 15 Aug 2011 GMT
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