Boating season now underway for 2008-09

NSW Maritime Boating Officers were out in force on the October long weekend for Operation Boat Safe – a statewide campaign to mark the start of the new boating season.

More than 55 Boating Officers were on State waters, despite the cool and windy weather, to ensure the boating public complied with lifejacket, licence and safety equipment requirements.

In total, 1153 vessels were checked for appropriate safety equipment with 74 fines issued.

Fines were issued for:

  • Not carrying enough appropriate lifejackets for the number of people on board
  • Speeding
  • Not wearing lifejackets while crossing a coastal bar
  • Towing without an observer
  • Driving a PWC unlicensed
  • Not carrying the appropriate number of in-date flares
  • Operating vessel with expired registration

The October long-weekend heralds the start of warmer weather and coincides with a marked increase in the number of boaters heading out on NSW waterways.

It is crucial that skippers understand the safety message and their responsibilities on the water.

In 2007-08, the fatality rate per 100,000 recreational boat licences held in NSW was 2.66. In 1992-93 the rate was 9.77.

NSW Maritime has responsibility to serve the boating community which currently includes more than 450,000 licence holders and some 217,000 registered boat owners.

In total it is estimated more than 1.5 million people go out on the State’s waterways each year.

Operation Boat Safe and the start of the new boating season coincides with the announcement that two new full-time Boating Officers will be recruited by NSW Maritime to join in the patrol effort on Sydney Harbour.

Last year (2006/2007) Maritime Boating Officers performed more than 41,000 vessel checks with a safety compliance rate of over 91 per cent for recreational vessels, they issued more than 2400 infringements and almost 2000 written warnings were issued for breaches of maritime legislation.