Cold weather boating safety campaign
NSW Maritime Boating Officers are out on State waters for the remainder of June raising awareness of the risks involved in cold-weather boating, NSW Maritime Acting Chief Executive Steve Dunn said.
Mr Dunn said the campaign aimed to increase awareness of prevention and risk reduction in cold weather boating – particularly in the event of boat capsize or swamping.
“In the cooler months, there is an increased risk of boaters suffering hypothermia if you end up in the water,” he said.
“Body temperature can cool 25 times faster when immersed in cold water, with children and older people being the most vulnerable.”
Two people have died from hypothermia-related boating accidents on NSW waters since the beginning of 2007, with another seven serious injuries and five minor injuries.
“Boaters have a greater exposure to the elements than most and boating in cooler weather and alpine areas means a higher risk of developing hypothermia from wind-chill, capsize and wet clothes.
“Skippers need to act responsibly, check the weather and – if in doubt, don’t go out.
“Make sure you have lifejackets on before the threat of capsize arises – and have enough for each person on board, in an easy-to-access spot.”
Warm clothing is advised but boaters should also wear a lifejacket especially if clothing appeared too bulky or heavy to swim in, Mr Dunn said.
“Waders and gumboots should be avoided as these can fill with water and make swimming extremely difficult if you end up in the water,” he said.
“If trouble strikes, remain with the craft to increase chances of being located after capsize or swamping.”
More information on hypothermia can be found at www.maritime.nsw.gov.au