A PRE-EASTER statewide safety blitz by NSW Maritime has highlighted the risks of wash and waves on waterways, with a raft of incidents including multiple capsizes responded to across last weekend.
NSW Maritime Principal Manager Shane Davey said Operation Don’t Rock the Boat is about encouraging good judgement on the water as Maritime prepares for some of their busiest weeks over the Easter and ANZAC Day public holidays.
“There have been far too many near-misses this year, and as we see a surge in people heading out on the water in the next couple of weeks it’s vital boaters make safe choices to avoid preventable incidents,” Mr Davey said.
“Despite the weather being poor, plenty of people were out on the water over the weekend, and in Sydney we saw two incidents that thankfully, didn’t end in fatalities.
“On Saturday, a paddler was rescued off Cape Banks after his kayak capsized in rough conditions. His kayak ended up smashed on the rocks.
“On Sunday, six people ended up in the water in Botany Bay after their outrigger canoe was capsized by the wake of a larger boat.
“Fortunately, in both incidents everyone was wearing lifejackets and no one was injured. It’s a timely reminder that excess wash can be dangerous, especially to smaller vessels.
“The Easter school holidays is one of the busiest times on our waterways. Don’t let your good day on the water ruin someone else’s. The type of wave we want to see is a courtesy wave of the hand, not a massive wave in your wake when passing someone else.
“Watch your wash as it might be having a negative impact on others. Slow down, take a look at your surroundings and use common sense. Even if you’re travelling at the speed limit shown on a sign, you can still create excessive wash.
“We’ve seen a concerning 24 capsizings this boating season, and most could have been avoided. There have been seven fatalities and 250 on water incidents. I can’t stress enough, simple checks can help keep you and your family safe this Easter holiday break.”
Over the two-day campaign NSW Maritime officers carried out almost a thousand vessel safety checks, resulting in more than 110 official cautions and 16 fines.
A key message of Operation Don’t Rock the Boat was to remind boaters of their responsibilities on the water, and to check vessels and safety gear, keep an eye on weather and have a Plan B in place to head somewhere sheltered if conditions get rough.
For more information on wash rules, visit: https://nsw.gov.au/driving-boating-and-transport/waterways-safety-and-rules/rules/wash
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