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255 vessels inspected during Operation Blue Waters

by Leigh Wannan 7 May 09:24 UTC
Operation Blue Waters © Leigh Wannan

Despite poor weather, Roads and Maritime Services' Boating Safety officers were out in force, inspecting a total of 255 vessels during a weekend-long operation targeting offshore vessels along the Hunter and North Coast of NSW.

Roads and Maritime Executive Director NSW Maritime Mark Hutchings said Operation Blue Waters kicked off before sunrise on Saturday 4 May and continued until sundown on Sunday 5 May.

"The aim of the operation was to educate boaters to the dangers of offshore boating to reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our waterways," Mr Hutchings said.

"The weather was generally pretty bad on the weekend with significant rainfall and poor conditions offshore, but it was important for our officers to get out there and make sure all boaters were safe.

"Boating safety officers targeted offshore and fishing vessels, making sure the right equipment was on board and skippers were aware of the dangers of bar crossings and offshore activities.

"Thankfully, no major incidents occurred during the operation, however, there have been recent incidents along the North Coast involving vessels hitting rocks or capsizing when attempting to cross a coastal bar, resulting in the rescue of several people who ended up in the water."

Mr Hutchings said it was pleasing to see most boaters complying with the rules and doing the right thing.

"During the operation we saw a compliance rate of about 85 per cent. This shows the vast majority of boaters are following the rules and staying safe, but it also says there are many out there still not following the rules.

"Boating safety regulations are there to keep everyone safe, and those who choose not to obey the rules are putting themselves and others at unnecessary risk.

"We want everyone to be out there doing what they love on the water, but we want to make sure everyone is doing it safely."

The operation supports the outcomes of the NSW Government's Maritime Safety Plan 2021 to reduce fatalities and serious injuries on the state's waterways.

During the operation, NSW Maritime Boating Safety and Boating Education Officers:

  • inspected 255 vessels
  • found 85 per cent of boaters to be compliant
  • issued 16 penalty notices and 25 cautions, and
  • provided information and advice to 434 boaters on land
For more information about boating safety, visit: www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime

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