There are no excuses: Wear a lifejacket

THE importance of wearing a lifejacket while crossing a coastal bar has been demonstrated during the final Roads and Maritime Services statewide boating safety and education campaign for the boating season.

During the campaign, the RMS Boating Safety Officer for Evan Heads attended an incident which demonstrated the danger of crossing a coastal bar and the importance of wearing a lifejacket, which is compulsory for anyone in any size vessel when crossing a bar, Maritime Director Angus Mitchell said.

"A small fibreglass runabout capsized while attempting to head offshore from the Evans Head coastal bar, swamped by a large set of waves," Mr Mitchell said.

"As the boat overturned, a 12 year old boy became trapped. However, one of the two adults, who also had been onboard, was able to swim under the upturned hull and free him.

"All were wearing lifejackets and there were only minor injuries sustained. Without the added buoyancy which lifejackets provide, this scenario could have had a very different outcome.

"Roads and Maritime investigated the incident and no further action will be taken at this stage."

Mr Mitchell said there was an overall compliance rate of 90.7 per cent for the statewide operation which focused on boater compliance with offshore and inland safety equipment requirements.

"During the campaign which ran until 22 May, Boating Safety Officers carried out 721 random safety inspections of recreational vessels and 11 per cent were found to have missing or deficient safety equipment.

"A total of 34 penalty notices, and 33 formal warnings were issued.

"Missing safety equipment is the most common breach of marine law in NSW.

"The requirements differ depending on the conditions and where you are going boating, the size of the boat, whether there are children on board or if someone is boating alone.

For more information on boating safety and lifejacket requirements, visit the RMS website

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