While much of the world is shivering and shovelling snow, the southern hemisphere is lapping up a warm-weather Christmas.
This is the optimal time of year for Maritime Safety to remind boaties in all states of the need to wear lifejackets.
In NSW, a lifejacket van, believed to be the first initiative of its kind in the country has begun touring popular boat ramps giving people the chance to upgrade their old lifejackets for new ones in a campaign called ‘Old 4 New'.
'We're talking to boaters just as they're about to get on the water, giving them the opportunity to exchange their old lifejackets - for a discount off new ones,' said Minister for Roads and Ports, Duncan Gay at the launch last week.
'People need to make putting on a lifejacket a habit, a bit like putting on sunscreen, because one day it might just save your life.'
Equipped with a team of Boating Education Officers who will be based all over the state at popular boating locations on the coast and in regional NSW as well, vans will visit boat ramps, schools and community events to educate as many people as possible this boating season.
The ‘Old 4 New' van will be on duty from now til the end of the boating season in April. If you see them, snap a shot and send along to us. We will happily support this initiative as it promotes safe boating.
For the rest of the country, it's sobering to think that 9 out of 10 people who drowned when boating in NSW were not wearing a lifejacket, and lifejackets must be worn in vessels under 4.8m at night, offshore, when alone, and by children under 12 years of age.
This week, official visitor and exhibitor results from Yacht & Boat Korea, held in the impressive Changwon Exhibition and Convention Centre, located in Gyeongnam Province, South Korea.
Yacht and Boat 2013 Korea Yacht & Boat
According to organisers, GnA International there were 143 exhibitors in total, 94 of them from Korea and 49 from around the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Sri Lanka, the US and other markets. There were 273 meetings arranged between exhibitors which resulted in US$139m in potential contracts and US$35m in actual sales.
Dates will soon be set for the 2014 edition of the event, so watch out for those, plus testimonials from exhibitors who attended this year.
Also this week, an update on the bane of our oceans, plastic waste and the damage it's causing to marine life and the food chain – which of course, is eventually us.
A landmark study shows the plastic pollution in Australian waters is much worse than previously estimated, made up mostly of particles from disposable food wrapping.
In our neck of the woods, it's bloody hot at the moment, and will continue to top 30 over the break. Hence, after eating our fill at somebody else's place (Clive Palmer's actually – one of his Golf Clubs), we will retire home to sleep off the gluttony.
Wild Oats XI rounds as Perpetual Loyal struggles with the remains of her A sail - SOLAS Series. Crosbie Lorimer
Boxing Day we shall be eschewing the so-called sales and after dutifully watching the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart, cheering for Wild Oats XI to break its own record and for conditions to be less than the blustery gales BOM predicts, we will be heading to the beach and waterways of the GC.
Our family is looking forward to dips, paddles, to drop a line and probably squish up close to roasted tourists and squeal with delight at the 'funnest' thing in town – Super Duck.
So, that's Christmas wrapped up for another year.
If you're a spectator, enjoy the panoply and precision sailing of the Race! If you're onboard one of the 94 boats who'll line up on Boxing Day in Sydney Harbour for the world's most beautiful yacht race start, Saint Erasmus be with you!
All the best dear readers for another Happy Christmas. Hope 2014 is blessed with good health and good fortune.
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