As thousands of boaters take to the water for the traditional start of the summer boating season, Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos urged skippers to always ensure everyone on board wears a lifejacket.
Commissioner Tannos said this was the simplest safety measure to help protect lives in the unfortunate event of a boating emergency.
“Between mid-1999 and December 2011, 206 of the 221 people killed in boating accidents in NSW were not wearing lifejackets. This is a terrible waste of life,” Tannos said.
“A lifejacket can only save your life if you are wearing it. Putting on your lifejacket should be the very first thing you do when you step onboard your boat and you should not take it off till you’re back on land.
“The skipper is responsible for the safety of their boat and all passengers, and should ensure everyone onboard wears their lifejacket at all times.
“Many accidents and mishaps are not foreseeable and conditions can change rapidly on the water. It’s not worth risking your life or those of your family and friends. You don’t want to spend the rest of your life wishing you’d been safe, not sorry.
“A range of modern, light-weight jackets that are comfortable and allow for a full range of movement is now available on the market. If you find your old-model jacket bulky and cumbersome to wear for extended periods, it’s worth considering investing in a new model.”
Marine Rescue NSW units along the coastline from Point Danger to Eden and on the Alpine Lakes are standing by for a potential spike in boating breakdowns over the long weekend and coming weeks as many skippers launch their boats again after the winter layoff.
“All skippers should check their boat’s mechanics, electrical systems and trailer and have any essential maintenance work carried out before heading out for another summer on the water,” said Commissioner Tannos, further adding: “Most importantly, check all your safety equipment. Are the lifejackets due for servicing? Check your flares and EPIRBs if you’re carrying them and replace your torch batteries. This equipment could save your life.”
Skippers should always log on with their nearest MRNSW unit whenever they head out on the water and log off when they return so someone responsible knows where they’re headed and when they’re safely back on shore. If a boater does not log off as scheduled, MRNSW volunteers can start work to locate them.
To find the nearest MRNSW unit, go to: www.marinerescuensw.com.au
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