Lifejacket focus for safe boating week

Edward ScownMidwest Times
DoT marine investigator Sue Matthews inflates the collar type lifejacket. (
Camera IconDoT marine investigator Sue Matthews inflates the collar type lifejacket. ( Credit: Barry Wiseman)

As the weather warms, and the boats come out of their winter hibernation, the Department of Transport is stressing the importance of wearing a lifejacket when out on the water, as part of National Safe Boating Week.

A recent survey showed usage has gone up in the last two years, from 32 per cent in 2019, to 43 per cent of skippers and their passengers donning lifejackets. However, the number still below half is of concern to authorities.

“As the new boating season gets under way, we are urging those on the water to not only carry but more importantly wear their lifejacket,” DoT director of waterways safety management Chris Mather said.

Skippers are required to carry a correctly sized lifejacket for every person aboard their vessel when operating in open waters. Those who fail to do so could face a fine of up to $200.

Mr Mather said there had been several multiple fatality incidents where investigations have concluded that victims were not wearing lifejackets when they entered the water.

“In an emergency like this, 30 seconds could be all the time skippers and passengers have to grab life-saving safety equipment. Investigations have shown that people who are already wearing their lifejacket have more time to raise the alarm by making a radio call and are able to activate their EPIRB.”

Boaters are encouraged to take part in the 30-second challenge, which requires them to have a life jacket on, EPIRB and flares out, and a distress signal sent within the time limit. “National Safe Boating Week is an excellent time to spend time preparing for a safe summer of boating,” Mr Mathers said.

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