Ballina High School Marine Discovery Centre co-ordinator Lynda Hourigan (front centre) and her students with some of the 100 new life-jackets donated by NSW Maritime.
Ballina High School Marine Discovery Centre co-ordinator Lynda Hourigan (front centre) and her students with some of the 100 new life-jackets donated by NSW Maritime. DOUG EATON

New lifejackets for school

ONE HUNDRED new lifejackets will be a welcome addition to the Marine Discovery Centre at Ballina High School.

And the lifejackets – which are specially designed to provide the highest-level of buoyancy – will also help promote new laws which came into effect last year.

Centre co-ordinator Lynda Hourigan said the school welcomed the assistance from NSW Maritime.

“The donation of the lifejackets and their high visibility will help raise awareness of the new lifejacket laws in NSW,” she said.

Under the laws, lifejackets must be worn by boat passengers more frequently on more types of vessels.

State Ballina MP Don Page was on hand yesterday to present to new lifejackets to students and staff.

He said the Marine Discovery Centre did a “fantastic job teaching young people about safe and responsible boating”.

“Marine teachers provide an excellent service to communities such as Ballina, which has a sometimes treacherous bar crossing, and large numbers of recreational fishers,” he said.

The Marine Discovery Centre introduced its Safe Boat Handling Course in partnership with NSW Maritime 15 years ago, and it has now been extended to other schools.

The school operates five, 3.3m aluminium punts with 8hp outboards, and three amphibious LARCs, which can carry 30 people.

Ms Hourigan said the program offered both the theoretical and practical components of the boat licence.

They learn to drive the boats and are taught the skills mandated in the NSW Maritime Practical Logbook in the Richmond River and North Creek.

“At the end of the course they will have completed their log books and the examination – it’s really only a matter of them picking up their licence,” she said.



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