Operation Ski Safe targets dangerous towing
NSW Maritime will clamp down on dangerous towing practices from boats in a State wide safety campaign this weekend.
Ports and Waterways Minister Joe Tripodi said Operation Ski Safe will target towing activities such as waterskiing, aquaplaning and wakeboarding on bays, rivers, lakes and dams throughout NSW.
“Towing sports are especially popular during the peak boating season and school holidays, so Maritime safety inspectors will be making sure participants are doing so safely,” Mr Tripodi said.
Last year there were 22 incidents on NSW waterways involving water-skiers and people who were aquaplaning or wakeboarding.
“This figure included one fatality, eleven serious injuries and eight minor injuries. That’s 22 incidents we don’t want to see repeated this year,” Mr Tripodi said.
“It’s especially important to ensure there is an observer on board, assisting the licensed skipper and keeping watch the entire time any towing is taking place.”
Mr Tripodi said observers need to be at least 16 years old or the holder of a young adult boat licence.
“It goes without saying both skippers and observers need to be below the 0.05 alcohol limit, and that their vessels must be registered and display a capacity plate.
“Anyone being towed, whether it’s in a tube, on skis or on a wakeboard should also wear a life jacket.”
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.
“Remember that no more than three people can be towed at once, and you mustn’t ski before sunrise or after sunset,” Mr Tripodi said.
“The wash waves produced by towing can also be a hazard to other vessels and the foreshore. So ensure you keep to a safe speed and minimise wash.”