Operation Tow Smart
NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers were out on State waters during January to promote towing and water-skiing safety. Operation Tow Smart, a campaign to educate the boating community on the potential dangers associated with all towing activities on the water and how to prepare and maintain a boat safely, followed several serious towing incidents in NSW in early January.
Boating Safety Officers all over NSW were stopping boaters to raise awareness of towing and propeller strike safety as well as for safety checks.
A central message to skippers is to be particularly mindful of the serious injuries that can be caused by spinning propellers when engaged in towing activities or when near swimmers or divers – and to remember that some propellers may continue to spin even when the engine is in neutral.
For the safety of everyone on the water, skippers should always check that the area near the back of the boat is all clear before starting the engine.
Boat propeller injuries can be severe and life threatening. Since 31 October 2001, there have been seven fatalities and 69 permanent injuries as a result of propeller strikes, and an average of seven injuries a year.
In 2011, there were seven propeller strike incidents resulting in one fatality and six serious injuries.
NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers also used the campaign to raise awareness of fire-prevention, especially for vessels fitted with petrol inboard engines, and to remind boaters about the new lifejacket laws.
Inboard petrol engines pose a considerable risk of fire and explosion if suitable precautions are not taken. This can result in the destruction of the vessel and serious burns to those on board.
The risk of fire can be minimised by regularly checking bilges and fuel systems for signs of leaks, and always carefully ventilating the bilge and engine space before starting the engine.
For more information on towing, prop strike and inboard petrol engines as well as general boating safety, visit NSW Maritime’s website at www.maritime.nsw.gov.au. NSW Maritime is part of Roads and Maritime Services.
Lifejacket safety website
A new safety website at www.lifejacketwearit.com.au promotes greater awareness of lifejackets and when to wear them when boating on all NSW waterways.
New lifejacket laws introduced in November 2010 have made it compulsory to wear lifejackets in high-risk circumstances such as boating alone, at night and offshore in small craft.
Following 12 months of education, Maritime Boating Safety Officers began enforcing these requirements in November.
The new website provides a simple, easy to follow, safety reference for the boating community, with full details of the new lifejacket wear requirements.
The aim is to inform and engage people in boating safety through the website, which includes a lifejacket photo competition, a lifejacket story telling competition and an opportunity to nominate a member of industry or a stakeholder group demonstrating excellence in the promotion of wearing lifejackets.
The website is the latest component of a broader NSW Maritime lifejacket education program that includes a lifejacket loan scheme for boaters and a lifejacket gift scheme for marine teachers and boating instructors statewide, as well as a compliance program statewide by NSW Maritime Boating Safety Officers.
NSW Maritime developed the website www.lifejacketwearit.com.au with the support of the Office of Boating Safety.