'Operation Boatsafe: Know the Rules' this week on Far South Coast waters

Boaters are being urged to familiarise themselves with changes to boating laws which were introduced earlier this year ahead of a statewide boating safety campaign starting Saturday.

Roads and Maritime Services acting maritime director Michael Drake said Operation Boatsafe: Know the Rules starts on Saturday, November 26 and will continue until sundown on Sunday, December 4.

Roads and Maritime Services Boating Safety Officers and NSW Police Officers will join forces to randomly stop boaters as part of this operation to promote safe boating behaviour through education and compliance activities.

Boating education officers will also be out at boat ramps and fishing and boating clubs around the State to help boaters with advice and information before they head out on the water.

“The aim is to encourage people to refresh their knowledge on the safe navigation rules – particularly if they obtained a boat licence a while ago,” Mr Drake said.

“The new Marine Safety Regulation 2016 came into effect on 1 July and includes new streamlined and simplified requirements for wearing lifejackets and some changes to penalties and disqualification periods.

“The new legislation also includes reforms to boat driver licensing, including streamlining licence classes and application requirements, simplifying fee structure and the introduction of a 10-year boat licence.

“The maximum speed for travelling when near other vessels, the shoreline or people in the water has dropped from 10 to 6 knots (18.5 km/h to 11 km/h).”

Marine Area Commander Detective Superintendent Mark Hutchings said NSW Police, Marine Area Command will work closely with Boating Safety Officers while carrying out joint compliance operations, safety checks and random breath testing.

“Boaters should be reminded it is their responsibility to understand the new changes and ensure they operate as safely as possible," Det Supt Hutchings said.

Mr Drake said boaters should refresh their knowledge on the general safe navigation requirements including keeping a proper lookout, vessel give way rules and operating at a safe speed.

“Safety is paramount on our waterways and boaters should be ensuring they are up to date with requirements for boating safely,” he said.

For more information on boating safety, visit http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime