Boat-related deaths ‘double in year’ alert

ALTHOUGH most people were doing the right thing during the state-wide boating safety blitz dubbed ‘Operation Stay Afloat – Reduce the Risk’, a concerning number of skippers and jetski riders were found to be operating dangerously, putting themselves and others at risk.

NSW Maritime’s Deon Voyer said that tragically, the number of boating related deaths had doubled from seven last financial year to 14 since July 2023 and of these, 11 were not wearing lifejackets. During the operation earlier this month, NSW Maritime officers issued 52 fines and 145 official warnings.
“We’re expecting to see an increase in popular activities like waterskiing and towing as families flock to enjoy the last of the warm weather, but thrillseekers are advised to take extra care as the number of towing incidents has doubled to seven so far this financial year, up from three the year before,” Mr Voyer said.
“We want people to have fun, but remember that as your speed increases, so does your risk.
“When towing, always keep a proper lookout, wear a lifejacket and ensure that the skipper, observer and person being towed stay under the 0.05 alcohol limit.”
The top three offences were for failure to carry or wear an appropriate lifejacket representing 34 per cent of fines, failing to carry or maintain the required safety equipment at 25 per cent and licence and registration at 23 per cent.
When it comes to staying safe on the water, skippers are being urged to exercise good judgement, plan ahead and consider ways to reduce the risk.
My Voyer stressed that lifejackets were the most important item of safety equipment on any recreational vessel, but they could only save lives if they’re worn.
“Make sure kids are wearing their lifejackets and that they fit properly, and lead by example by wearing yours too.”