Today Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) will launch a new safety campaign in Tasmania.
Boating has come a long way in the past 20 years in Tasmania. One in 17 Tasmanians now own a registered boat and one in eight possess a recreational boat licence.
Christmas is fast approaching and ahead lies Easter 2019 – the two periods of the most intense boating activity in the State.
Our campaign is focused around three major issues -
Inflatable life jackets and the need to service them;
Being weatherwise and knowing where your safety gear is and how to use it;
Buying an unseaworthy second-hand boat.
Boating is one of the great recreational activities for Tasmanians.
We have great cruising grounds and wonderful lakes around the State.
But there is also a great deal of responsibility for those who go boating - for boat owners, the skipper on the day and indeed the crew aboard.
Since January 2001, Tasmania has had legislation for the compulsory wearing of life jackets in boats six metres and under.
As 92 per cent of Tasmania’s registered boats are trailerable, the vast majority are under this length.
We know that compliance with the legislation is high with over 94 per cent of people wearing their life jacket. We also know there are between 75,000 and 85,000 inflatable life jackets in Tasmania.
Unfortunately the reality is that only 2500 of these inflatable life jackets are being serviced – around 3 per cent!.
MaST legislation requires the owner of an inflatable life jacket to have it serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.
Every manufacturer of inflatable life jackets has different servicing requirements.
It’s too late if you’re out on the water and you find out that the old boat you bought doesn’t have buoyancy or is unseaworthy and sinks.Lia Morris, MAST
Some call for servicing every two years, some say they can be self-serviced annually, but need a full manufacturer’s service every three years.
Tragically, in recent fatalities which have occurred in Tasmania, some of the people who died were wearing inflatable life jackets that did not work as expected or would not have worked due to failure of components of the jacket.
Is the value of your family and friends’ lives worth the cost of a service?
Every time you go on your boat, it only takes a minute to check your inflatable life jacket, to check that the cylinder is properly fitted and ready for use AND when you put it on – zip it up!
The same with the safety equipment every boat must carry.
Is it handy? It’s no use to you in an emergency if it’s up forward in a locker. Do the people on board with you know how to use it? Can you access it within 30 seconds?
This time of year there are many second hand boats for sale - online or even on the side of the road.
Does the second hand boat you’re considering buying have enough buoyancy?
Is it seaworthy? If you don’t know about boats, take along someone who does know – or get in contact with MaST for a checklist.
It’s too late if you’re out on the water and you find out that the old boat you bought doesn’t have buoyancy or is unseaworthy and sinks.
In Tasmania’s cold water you can lose the ability to swim in just 10 minutes as cold water can cause swim failure which is due to blood vessels in your arms and legs constricting, which makes it difficult to keep your muscles moving properly. This then makes it difficult to wave for help or grab a throw ring which can quickly lead to drowning.
Wearing a life jacket greatly reduces the possibility of drowning from swim failure.
Understandably, December, January and April are the peak months for fatalities – the Christmas and Easter holiday periods.
When you go boating, MAST wants you and your crew to come home safely.
Check the weather before you go out and keep an eye on it during the trip, as it can change quickly. . Have you told someone where you are going?
We all know that people enjoy a beer or two while they are fishing or when they are just on the water… but if you’re the skipper, Go Easy on the Drink and be aware of the 0.05 limit You’re the skipper – you’re responsible!
In fact, it’s in everybody’s interest to be responsible onboard.
All of this and much more is contained on the MAST website: www.mast.tas.gov.au.
Remember - Be Boatwise - There are no second chances. Have a safe and enjoyable boating summer.
- Lia Morris is the chief executive of Marine and Safety Tasmania.