NSW Roads and Maritime Services senior boating officer Glenn Carr is warning people to take care on the water.By Ruth Clayton
As the weather warms up, a reminder to stay safe on district rivers could save lives, according to NSW Roads and Maritime Services senior boating officer Glenn Carr.
Mr Carr said conditions on the Murray River had changed since last boating season and people needed to be aware and alert.
He said sandbars along the river had changed since last year because of a long period of a high river, and there may now be significant drop-offs at sandbars, posing a hazard to river-users.
He also said there could be current changes around the sandbars.
Mr Carr said anyone taking a boat out on the river should make sure it was registered and in good mechanical condition.
He said many vessel fires were caused by mechanical problems.
People can take their vessels to an authorised marine dealer to have a safety check completed.
Mr Carr reminded people to drive on the right hand side of the river and said each vessel needed the appropriate and correct amount of life jackets onboard.
He said NSW had experienced an increased number of fatalities on waterways recently, of which more than 60 per cent could have been avoided if the victim was wearing a life jacket.
‘‘You can’t have an adult life jacket for a four-year-old kid,’’ Mr Carr said.
He said a person travelling on a vessel 4.8m and under needed to wear a lifejacket and for any vessel 8m and under every child under the age of 12 needed to wear a life jacket at all times.
‘‘Everybody needs to abide by the rules and regulations of the waterways,’’ Mr Carr said.
‘‘If people abide by the rules we wont have any accidents.’’
He said it was human nature for people to get complacent and think, ‘It won’t happen to me’.
Care, courtesy and common sense should be shown on the river at all times, Mr Carr said.
‘‘You’ve just got to put yourself in other people’s shoes and think about what the consequences are.’’
He said the consequences of a misjudgement on the river was potentially more serious than on a road, because boats did not contain brakes or seat belts and ‘‘people can be quite easily ejected’’.
Mr Carr said the boat master was responsible not only for the people in their boat, but for the people around the boat.
‘‘Be aware of who is in and around your vessel because that propeller is potentially one of the most dangerous things on a boat,’’ he said.
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