Maritime safety operation to focus on jet skis

SPEEDING SKIS: A concerned local Narooma boater snapped this photo of speeding jet skis in the 4-knot oyster lease zone at the top of Wagonga Inlet just before Christmas.

SPEEDING SKIS: A concerned local Narooma boater snapped this photo of speeding jet skis in the 4-knot oyster lease zone at the top of Wagonga Inlet just before Christmas.

Operators of personal watercraft on the Far South Coast, such as jet skis, are advised to be on their best behaviour with the start of a statewide safety campaign this weekend.

There were issues with jet skiers not doing the right thing on the Narooma inlet over the Christmas break with the local boating safety officer having to deal speeding jet skis.

NSW Maritime executive director Angus Mitchell said the Ride Smart safety operation would run from Saturday, January 13 to sundown Monday, January 22.

The operation will see Roads and Maritime Services boating safety officers on a number of NSW waterways with the aim to remind jet skiers of their responsibilities and the rules of safe operation.

“Personal watercraft are popular but are essentially very mobile miniaturised powerboats and must be used correctly for the enjoyment of all water users,” Mr Mitchell said.

“All personal watercraft must be registered for operation on NSW waterways and anyone operating any type of personal watercraft at any speed must carry a special licence which can only be obtained once a person has already qualified for a powerboat licence in NSW.

“So by definition, personal watercraft riders are some of the best informed boaters. These riders know everyone on board a craft needs be wearing a lifejacket at all times and not operate before sunrise or after sunset.

“Riders also know there are certain exclusion zones for personal watercraft, including the waters of Sydney Harbour and all tidal bays, rivers and tributaries including the Parramatta River, Middle Harbour and Lane Cove River.

“The majority of people do the right thing when riding jet skis but boating safety officers will be carrying out targeted on-water patrols, randomly stopping jet skiers and checking licences.

“Officers will also be checking for appropriate lifejacket wear as well as keeping an eye out for any irregular riding. Operators who are in breach of boating laws face on the spot fines.

“There will also be a focus on ensuring any towing activities involving personal watercraft are being carried out safely and in accordance with the boating regulations.”

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

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