NSW Maritime in Operation Blue Water

Maritime in Operation Blue Water

NSW Maritime is to target offshore boating safety this weekend in Operation Blue Water, General Manager Recreational Boating Brett Moore said.

Mr Moore said Operation Blue Water would see Boating Safety Officers patrolling coastal areas of NSW from Tweed to Eden with a focus on skippers’ responsibilities.

“Boating offshore is a great experience though it has special challenges and skippers need to ensure their boat and crew are up to the challenge,” he said.

“If something goes wrong offshore, help can be a long way away, so the best advice is to be prepared and carry the right safety gear, and communications equipment.”

Skippers will be reminded of the need to:
•    check the weather before each voyage and if in doubt, don’t go out;
•    ensure the vessel is in good working order and is appropriate for the operating conditions;
•    wear lifejackets when crossing coastal bars; and
•    have a marine band radio onboard when more than 2 nautical miles offshore.

The marine radio can be used to monitor the weather, to log on and off with the coastal radio network so someone knows where you are and to call for help if needed.

NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers will also check to ensure any vessel required to carry an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB) is aware of the need to switch to a 406MHz beacon before 1 February 2009.

“From February the international system of monitoring distress signals from a 121.5MHz beacon will be switched off and only the superior digital signal of a 406 beacon will be effective,” he said.

“Every skipper of a boat required to carry an EPIRB must switch to a 406 and register that beacon with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. It is free and easy to register these beacons with AMSA online.”

“Old 121 beacons must be disposed of appropriately and can be handed into Battery World outlets nationwide at no cost.

“The 121 beacons must not be thrown in the rubbish as an accidental activation can lead to expensive and time-wasting false alarms and searches.”

For more information visit www.maritime.nsw.gov.au and www.amsa.gov.au