Minister for Ports and Waterways Paul McLeay said the chill hadn’t turned people off boating.
“Over the Queen’s Birthday long weekend across the state, NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers checked more than 1300 vessels and spoke to skippers about the hazards of cold water boating during Operation Cold Water,” Mr McLeay said.
“Just because the temperature has dropped doesn’t mean the water is any less beautiful, and in some cases it’s more bountiful, with plenty of fishing to be had.”
Mr McLeay said fines and formal warnings were issued to 98 boaters, mostly for not having the required safety equipment such as lifejackets.
“Generally however boaters are aware of the dangers associated with hypothermia and comply with safety rules.
“However it’s important to remind skippers to check the weather before heading out, and make sure they and their vessel can handle the conditions.
“As always – if in doubt, don’t go out,” Mr McLeay said.
Member for Monaro, Steve Whan, said over the long weekend Boating Safety Officers also helped four people whose boat had broken down 200 metres from shore on the Blowering Dam near Tumut in the Snowy Mountains.
“Two people aboard the 3.7 metre tinnie were wearing waders, one of them sitting on the bow and there were only two lifejackets on board for four people,” Mr Whan said.
“They were paddling slowly to shore, fortunately in calm conditions, when the Boating Safety Officer came by and towed them in.
“If the boat had capsized, the people wearing waders would have had difficulty swimming and only two people would have had lifejackets.
“The water was around 7°C so the risk of hypothermia would have been very real.”
This is a good reminder for all people boating during the winter months to be aware of the dangers of hypothermia, the effect of heat loss from the body.
“This is an issue that affects boaters throughout the cold months, and I urge everyone to be vigilant about safety at this time,” Mr Whan said.