Safety on the water focus of campaign

WITH water skiing and other on-water activities reaching their peak across the region, state-wide Operation Tow Safe kicked off at the weekend.

The two-week campaign is focused on safe towing of those engaged in water activities, and will ensure boaters are complying with maritime safety regulations. 

“Water skiing, wakeboarding and towing recreational inflatables increase in popularity each summer, so we need to make sure people are following the law and enjoying themselves responsibly,” a Roads and Maritimes Services spokesman said.

“We’ll be focusing on making sure people are using the right lifejackets, both in the boat and being towed, and that the right safety equipment is on board.”

He said Roads and Maritime boating safety officers would randomly inspect boating licences and remind users of towing laws. 

“We’ll have a zero tolerance approach when it comes to lifejacket laws,” he said.

Records show in the five years to 2014 there were 56 reported towing-related incidents resulting in eight fatalities.

Boaters had to remember water levels changed all the time and it was the responsibility of the skipper of the boat to ensure conditions were safe when planning a trip, the spokesman said.

“If you’re being towed, the skipper of the boat, or just there watching, you should know all the hand signals and have a clear understanding of what they mean before any towing starts,” he said.

Operation Tow Safe will also focus on the dangers of petrol engines on board. 

“To prevent vessel fires, boaters should check for any leaks or fuel spills once refueled, and ensure there is plenty of ventilation before restarting the engine,” the spokesman said.

He also advised those going out on the water to carry a complete first aid kit aboard, appropriate to the size of the boat.

The campaign will finish on January 12.

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