Offshore boating safety campaign from NSW Maritime

NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers will be out in force this weekend ensuring vessels operating offshore – from Seal Rocks to Norah Head – are carrying the required safety equipment.

NSW Maritime Hunter/ Inland Regional Manager Charlie Dunkley said high seas were slowly abating after recent wild weather, but reminded skippers that if they are thinking of heading out this weekend – to watch the weather.

“Skippers of vessels heading offshore also need to ensure they have the correct type and number of safety equipment on board and in working order, depending on their vessel size,” Mr Dunkley said.

“Offshore boating is a different kettle of fish to boating on enclosed harbours, bays or rivers,” Mr Dunkley said.

“Skippers have a responsibility to ensure their boat and gear are in good working order before heading offshore.

“They should check the weather and tell someone where they are headed and when they plan to return.

“Skippers can sometimes be lured into a situation of false safety due to the regular smooth seas and fine weather.”

Mr Dunkley said the campaign coincided with a trailer boat competition scheduled to take place off Port Stephens, which would see a large number of competing vessels heading offshore to take part.

“We will also have Boating Safety Officers conducting random checks of vessels at boat ramps in the region and off Newcastle, and from Lake Macquarie to Norah Head.

“Aside from all-important safety equipment, they will be checking that skippers have appropriate licences and registration.

“And boaters who choose to use self-inflating lifejackets are also reminded that as of Monday, there is a new requirement to have self-inflating lifejackets serviced annually,” Mr Dunkley said.