Operation Ski Safe: the results are in.
A NSW Maritime safety campaign targeting dangerous boat towing practices over the weekend saw nearly 80 boaters issued with penalty notices and many others given warnings, Ports and Waterways Minister Joe Tripodi said today.
NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers checked 1378 vessels during Operation Ski Safe, ensuring towing practices were being conducted safely and boats were carrying proper safety equipment.
“A total of 79 penalty notices were issued, along with a number of formal and informal warnings,” Mr Tripodi said.
“Offences included insufficient lifejackets, boats having no observer or an under-aged observer while towing skiers and speeding. A number of vessels were unregistered or weren’t displaying their capacity plates.”
Operation Ski Safe results, regionally:
• South Coast – 325 vessels checked, with 16 penalty notices
• North Coast – 335 vessels checked, with 41 penalty notices
• Hunter region – 253 vessels checked, with 4 penalty notices
• Hawkesbury region – 154 vessels checked, with 9 penalty notices
• Sydney region – 301 vessels checked, with 9 penalty notices
“In 2008, there were 22 boating incidents on NSW waterways involving towing, waterskiing, aquaplaning and wakeboarding and we don’t want a repetition of these figures this year,” Mr Tripodi said.
“We urge skippers to practise safe towing – make sure you have an observer, those being towed are wearing a life jacket, your vessel is registered, and you’re displaying a capacity plate.
“Towboats and towlines need to keep 30m from other vessels and the shore, 60m from other people in the water, and 300m from bridges and overhead structures. No more than three people can be towed at once, and you mustn’t ski before sunrise or after sunset.
“The wash waves produced by towing can also be a hazard to other vessels and the foreshore, so keep to a safe speed and minimise wash.”
Mr Tripodi said the results from the North Coast in particular show there is more work to be done in this region, and Maritime would be working hard to make sure boaters are aware of safety requirements.
“Where rules are broken boaters will be fined. Penalty notices range from $40 to $550 depending on the seriousness of the offence.”
Mr Tripodi said penalty notices will increase from April 1 as part of range of boating safety reforms.