Operation Labour Day Weekend

Operation Labour Day Weekend 2009

NSW Maritime boating officers will be out in force on the Murrumbidgee and Murray rivers over the Victoria Labour Day long weekend of 6-9 March as holidaymakers pour into the Riverina and Murray River areas for two classic holiday sports festivals and recreational boating activities.

NSW Maritime Murray/Inland regional manager Scott Kidd said boating safety officers will be conducting spot checks on safety equipment, licences and vessel registration and targeting speeding, alcohol and wash offences.

“We’re expecting that hundreds of recreational boaters will join the horselovers and punters in the Echuca/Moama area for the Echuca Cup Carnival while boaters and anglers will also travel to Leeton to compete in the Bidgee Classic Fishing Competition at Gogeldrie Weir on the Murrumbidgee River,” Mr Kidd said.

“Boating safety officers will be spread out across the area for the duration of the long weekend and you can expect to see us anywhere on the waters of Lake Mulwala, Tocumwal, Barooga, Moama, Leeton and all points in between.

“We’re expecting high temperatures to continue over the weekend and we’re advising skippers and passengers alike to go easy on the drink – the blood alcohol limit on the water is 0.05 but be careful as the wind, waves and sun combine to multiply the effects of alcohol, increasing your chances of disorientation and drowning.”

NSW Maritime is asking all recreational boaters to observe the following safety precautions:
•    Check your vessel before you go out to ensure it’s in good working order and that all the safety equipment is working
•    If you’re towing, make sure you have an observer on board and that you don’t tow more than three people at the same time. Observers must be at least 16 years old or hold a young adult boat licence
•    Anyone being towed, whether it’s in a tube, on skis or on a wakeboard, should also wear a lifejacket
•    If you are unable to meet the distance off rules, skippers are reminded they must operate at a safe speed according to the conditions and the numbers of vessels
•    Don’t ski before sunrise or after sunset
•    Watch your wash and slow down
•    Keep a proper lookout at all times
•    If you’re the skipper, stay under the 0.05 blood alcohol limit.

“Drought conditions have lowered water levels on the rivers in many areas and exposed hazards such as tree stumps, so we’re urging all boaters to keep an eagle eye on the water,” Mr Kidd said.

“In the waters around the fishing competition at Gogeldrie Weir, recreational boaters and swimmers should keep clear of the anglers and allow them to enjoy their competition.

“It’s one of the last long weekends of the holiday season, so we’re asking all boaters to stay under the 0.05 blood alcohol level and behave in a responsible and considerate manner so that everyone has a good holiday weekend on our waterways.”