Operation Safer Water

Boaters will be reminded to mind their manners when out on the water as part of a State-wide compliance operation starting Saturday.

Operation Safer Water: Smart Boating is Best kicks off across all NSW waterways from Saturday 14 April and will continue until sundown on Sunday 22 April.

“While there is no substitute for good manners, this is less about making friends and influencing people and more about saving lives,” Roads and Maritime Services Executive Director Maritime Angus Mitchell said.

“One of the key focuses of the operation will centre around considerate boating and ensuring that vessel operators have no doubts about the universal rule across waterways of the world relating to navigating on the right hand side of the waterway,” Mr Mitchell said.

“This is particularly important for safety in all and particularly the case in narrow waterways.

“The International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea 1972 (COLREGs) published by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) are the navigation rules to be followed by ships and other vessels to prevent collisions.”

Mr Mitchell said boaters will also be educated on boat ramp etiquette and the steps to take to achieve an efficient launch and retrieval.

“You would be surprised to hear about some of the dramas that are played out at boat ramps across NSW when people do not consider their fellow boaters in the rush to get out on the water,” he said.

“Boaters will also be reminded of the importance of checking the weather before and during boating and registering for the Maritime Alert system that is based on official weather data and to have the good sense to not go out on the water if the weather is not suitable.

“It should also go without saying that a boat should be appropriate for the conditions, as should clothing, including lifejackets and other on-board safety equipment such as marine band radio if heading offshore.”

Mr Mitchell said appropriate compliance action would be taken by Boating Safety Officers for any areas of non-compliance, with the ultimate aim of reducing the number of incidents on NSW waterways.

“Roads and Maritime Services will have the full complement of Boating Safety Officers out on the water, along with the team of locally based Boating Education Officers at ramps and clubs.”

The NSW Government is committed to a new Maritime Safety Plan aimed at reducing fatalities and serious injuries by 30 per cent by 2021 and moving toward zero by 2056.

For more information on boating safety or to register for maritime weather alert system, visit

http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime/using-waterways/weather-tides/alerts.html