LOCAL skippers are warned not to drink while operating a vessel, to wear life jackets, and to check their equipment before every launch, as a State-wide operation got underway at the weekend.
Roads and Maritime Services acting executive director NSW Maritime, Roger Weeks, said ‘Operation Safer Water’ kicked off on Saturday with a week-long education component and will continue until sundown on Sunday.
“All available Roads and Maritime Services boating safety officers will be on waterways, rivers, and dams across the State, reminding skippers of their responsibilities when operating a vessel,” Mr Weeks said.
“’You’re the skipper, you’re responsible’ is the message we are sending to vessel operators throughout the operation.
“This safety and compliance operation is about making sure everyone can enjoy themselves on our waterways without fearing for their personal safety.
“Our primary focus during the operation will be to ensure skippers and their passengers are wearing or have easy access to life jackets which are maintained and serviced regularly.
“We make no apologies for fining skippers and operators who can’t follow rules which are in place to keep them and their passengers safe.”
Mr Weeks said throughout the operation, boating education officers and boating safety officers will be educating skippers and passengers on the dangers of drinking before operating a vessel.
“You wouldn’t drink and drive, so don’t have a beer and steer. It’s that simple”, Mr Weeks said.
“Drinking before operating a vessel is a selfish act which puts you and all of your passengers at risk. It’s not worth it.
“Random breath testing applies to all skippers and, if you are caught, heavy fines and potential loss of licence apply. The blood alcohol limit is the same on the water as it is on land – 0.05.”
The operation begins with an educational component reminding boaters about personal responsibility and safety, and will be followed by a compliance operation starting on Saturday.
For more information about boating safety, visit: https://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime/