WEAR a lifejacket, log on and off and don’t consume alcohol are the three basic safety messages local Marine Rescue NSW units have for people heading out on Shoalhaven waterways over this Australia Day long weekend.
Two local unit commanders are concerned some boat users don’t wear lifejackets and don’t log in with a Marine Rescue unit before heading out for a day on the water.
The groups also strongly warned people that alcohol and boating don’t mix.
Unit commander of the Jervis Bay division Greg Atkinson said the consequences of people being under the influence of alcohol and then taking a boat out on the water could be disastrous.
“You could drown,” he said.
Shoalhaven Marine Rescue Association unit commander Terry Watson agreed with his counterpart and urged people not to risk people’s safety by mixing alcohol and boating.
Both commanders said it was sensible to log on and off with a Marine Rescue unit.
“We know where you are and when you are due back, if you log on and off with us,” Mr Watson said.
He said only 50 per cent of boat users logged on and Mr Atkinson said the ratio was higher for the Jervis Bay division.
“It’s about 60 per cent. We get one boat logging on with us, for example, but we know there are 15 out in the bay because we can see them,” he said.
Mr Atkinson said he would like to see more people wearing lifejackets, a view also stressed by Marine Rescue NSW commissioner Stacey Tannos.
“Please don’t gamble with your safety when you’re out on your boat. Wearing a lifejacket is the simplest thing you can do to help save your life in an emergency,” he said.
“Thousands of people will be out on the water over summer and it’s horrible to think that some of them might not come home simply because they couldn’t be bothered, were too proud or just didn’t think to put on their lifejacket.”
A lifejacket, said Marine Rescue NSW, never ruined a day on the water.