Skippers are being asked to be safe and responsible to avoid a repeat of the three tragic boating accidents this week, NSW Maritime CEO Chris Oxenbould said.
“The skipper of every boat is responsible for the safety of their vessel and the people on board,” Mr Oxenbould said.
“The weather may be cooling down but the boating season hasn’t ended. It is important for skippers to take stock of their responsibilities.”
Since the start of the boating season in October 2007, seven lives have been lost and two people are still missing. There were 11 fatalities during the same period of the boating season last year.
Mr Oxenbould said boating tragedies could be stopped if everyone takes the proper precautions.
“It has been a tragic week on our waterways,” he said.
“While two men who were on board the fishing trawler which sank off the North Coast are alive to tell their tales of survival, grave fears are held for the third man who is missing, presumed dead.
“On Sunday, a male and female, both in their 40s, were involved in a double fatality while canoeing on Tallowa Dam on the Southern Highlands.
“And a man is missing, presumed drowned on Lake Eucumbene following an incident involving a three metre tinny that was found overturned yesterday.'
'I implore each and every skipper to act as safely and responsibly as possible when out on the water,' Mr Oxenbould said.
Mr Oxenbould said two of the most important elements of safe and responsible boating are preparation and awareness.
“Lifejacket compliance will be targeted in the run up to Easter,” he said.
“NSW Maritime Boating Officers will be randomly stopping vessels to ensure there is the appropriate number of lifejackets on board – one for each person.
“Skippers need to make sure the lifejackets are in good condition and close at hand at all times. Lifejackets should be worn by all on board at times of heightened risk - such as when boating alone, when conditions get rough or when crossing coastal bars.”
An estimated 1.5 million people head out onto NSW waterways each year in a wide range of craft, from canoes through to commercial vessels. http://www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/