Operation Blue Water targets NSW coastal boating safety


Ports and Waterways Minister Paul McLeay last week announced the start of Operation Blue Water, a safety campaign lasting throughout February aimed at improving awareness of the safety requirements for boats on NSW coastal waters.

McLeay said there were 30 incidents involving vessels operating offshore during 2009. These included capsizing, colliding with a submerged object or other vessel, grounding, sinking and fire or explosion.

“Last year, five people died in offshore boating accidents and four suffered serious injuries,” McLeay said.

“In an effort to reduce this number throughout February, up and down the coast of NSW, Boating Safety Officers will conduct spot checks on vessels. This campaign aims to educate recreational boaters on the dangers and safety requirements of offshore boating.

“We want to ensure people have good boating practices so they can safely go out and safely enjoy our wonderful coast.”

McLeay said the campaign was also focused on educating boaters about the dangers of crossing sand bars at the mouths of coastal rivers, which can be notorious places for vessels capsizing.

“Offshore boating is fun, but it has its own risks and skippers should make sure their boat and crew are up to the challenge,” McLeay said.

“It is vital that the skipper carries the correct safety gear, has fully functioning communications equipment, and logs into the coastal radio network so the alarm can be raised if the boat fails to return,” he said.

Visit www.maritime.nsw.gov.au for more information.