265 vessels inspected in Georges River, Botany Bay and Port Hacking

RMS boating officers check a vessel during an earlier operation. Picture: Jane Dyson
RMS boating officers check a vessel during an earlier operation. Picture: Jane Dyson

Seven fines and 18 official cautions were issued to boaters during a safety blitz on Georges River, Botany Bay and Port Hacking last weekend.

A total of 265 vessels were inspected during the annual Roads and Maritime Services exercise, called Operation Safer Waters: You’re the Skipper, You’re Responsible.

Throughout the state, RMS boating safety officers inspected 1875 vessels and found nearly 90 per cent of boaters to be compliant with water safety regulations.

Executive director NSW Maritime Angus Mitchell said the operation started on Saturday, January 12, with a week-long education component and finished on Sunday, January 20, following a weekend-long compliance blitz.

“It was pleasing to see that during the operation nearly all boaters were wearing lifejackets and were compliant with safety regulations,” he said.

“The high compliance rate demonstrates how our safety messages are getting through to boaters.

“These types of operations are conducted regularly to make sure people are enjoying their time on the water without having to fear for their personal safety.”

Mr Mitchell said while the compliance rate among boaters was high, there were still some reckless people on the water who were putting themselves and others at risk.

“Every person who takes to the water without a lifejacket, without proper safety equipment or over the alcohol limit is putting themselves at an unnecessary risk,” he said.

“Even one person caught without their lifejacket on or over the legal limit is one too many – there is no excuse.”

The January operation was the second safety operation on St George and Sutherland Shire waterways in three months.

In November, 2018, police from Marine Area Command, with assistance from RMS officers, issued more than 30 fines during a weekend operation.

They inspected nearly 500 vessels, targeting vessel safety, safe navigation, speeding, alcohol and drug-related crime and anti-social behaviour.