Narooma boating safety officer gets word out about new regulations

Narooma-based boating safety officer Shane Murtagh is keen to get the word out about new boating regulations that came into force on July 1.

Mr Murtagh is also the proud driver of a brand-new patrol vessel, one of two delivered to the Roads and Maritime Service earlier this year.

Not one to stay in the office behind a desk, he has already clocked more 135 hours in the new boat since it arrived in May, regularly conducting on-water patrols as far south as Merimbula. 

“There is a Zipwake system in the hull design making it have one of the smoothest rides I have ever experienced,” Mr Murtagh said.  

This new 8.5m vessel with twin 250hp Suzuki motors on the back has a foam collar design, which provides safer interaction with customers. It is also larger which improves offshore capability to keep up with increasing recreational and commercial boating activities in the Narooma Bermagui area.

The vessel is also equipped with the latest technology allowing him to use high-tech thermal imaging during a search-and-rescue operation.

Click here to read more about the new vessel

Roads and Maritime Services on July 1 introduced new boating regulations that Mr Murtagh has been passing on to boaters when he encounters them in the new vessel.

The most significant changes include reforms to boat driver licensing, including streamlining licence classes and application requirements, simplifying the fee structure and the introduction of a 10-year boat licence.

There are new lifejacket standards and simplified requirements for wearing lifejackets. For example, for adults on a vessel less than 4.8m on enclosed waters, a 50S-type or better jacket is required at all times when boating between sunset and sunrise, on alpine waters or alone. For vessels less than 4.8m on open waters, a 100-type jacket is required at all times. 

Other changes include that vessels no longer need to display a registration label or trade plate, there are changes to streamline the administration of aquatic licences and changes to some penalty levels and disqualification periods.

Click here to check out the new RMS regulations

RMS has also redivided the region so that now Narooma and Bermagui and waters all the way down to Eden fall into the Monaro Region that extends up into the Snowy Mountains. 

In other local developments, Mr Murtagh said main navigation markers on Wagonga Inlet were now equipped with lights, allowing for safer travel at night and in low-light conditions.