The fatality of a kayaker yesterday near the Blue Mountains is a tragic reminder to all paddlers of the need for caution at all times, according to NSW Maritime General Manager Recreational Boating Brett Moore.
An investigation is underway into the Wentworth Falls Lake incident where a man in his late 60s who was not wearing a lifejacket fell from his craft and drowned.
“This is a terrible tragedy and our thoughts are with the man’s family at this difficult time,” Mr Moore said.
“Kayaks and canoes give everyone the chance to enjoy our beautiful waterways, and these simple craft may give the impression that they offer little risk.
“However, this tragedy is a reminder that like all boating activities paddling involves risks.”
Mr Moore said people in kayaks and canoes could help to protect themselves by knowing their limits as well as the limits of their craft and their gear.
“It is also important to know the local conditions and the weather, especially as the cooler months are upon us,” he said.
“Survival times in cool or cold water drop dramatically with the effects of exposure becoming an increasing threat at this time of year.
“Lifejackets must be carried on most craft at all times. On kayaks and canoes they must be worn by paddlers when more than 400m from shore. NSW Maritime, however, strongly recommends they be worn at all times of heightened risk and that includes when boating alone or by children and poor swimmers at any time when boating.”
NSW Maritime launched a new paddlecraft safety initiative late last year with the support of trans-Tasman paddlers Justin Jones and James Castrission. Justin and James are NSW Maritime Safety Ambassadors under the Boat for Life safe boating education campaign which has the support of the Boating Industry Association of NSW.