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Zero tolerance boating blitz this long weekend in New South Wales, Australia

by Emily Rundle 3 Oct 14:09 UTC
New NSW Maritime patrol vessel on Sydney Harbour © NSW Maritime

NSW Maritime operations team will take to the waterways in a statewide safety compliance blitz this long weekend.

This follows the recent announcement that maritime safety authorities will be applying zero tolerance for three months to boating safety breaches for failing to wear or carry lifejackets, speeding, unsafe towing activities and personal watercraft offences.

NSW Maritime General Manager Operations and Compliance Chris Doolin said maritime authorities are taking a zero tolerance approach in a bid to drive down unsafe behaviour and save lives on NSW waterways.

"One death on any NSW waterway is too many. Since 1 July, six people have unfortunately died on our waters with poorly maintained lifejackets or a lack of wearing lifejackets the contributing factor," he said.

Mr Doolin said Operation Be Prepared will involve checks by Boating Safety Officers of recreational boaters on NSW waterways to ensure they are carrying the required safety equipment, including lifejackets, on board.

"The October long weekend marks the start of the summer boating season. It is an opportunity for boaties to hit the waterways and make sure they have the appropriate equipment on board," he said.

"While a good number of people have continued to boat through the winter months, particularly with COVID-19 keeping people close to home, there is always a group of boaters who pack their vessels away in April and head out for the first time in October.

"We want to make sure they are doing this safely and following the relevant boating laws which exist to keep us all safe while on the water.

"Carrying, maintaining and checking equipment such as EPIRBs, flares and torches and ensuring that inflatable lifejackets have been serviced within the last twelve months or according to manufacturer's requirements. They need to be in good working order and appropriately sized for everyone on board in order to save lives when they're needed."

Boaters are also reminded to tell someone where they're going and when they will be back. The free Marine Rescue app makes 'Logging On' quick and easy. TfNSW Maritime encourage boaters to make every journey safer by switching to VHF radio, which provides greater range and better reception.

Operation Be Prepared will conclude at sundown on Monday 5 October.

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