Jet ski riders across the North Coast have been targeted in the year’s first jet ski compliance and education blitz, with NSW Maritime issuing three penalty notices and 20 official warnings from more than 200 inspections over the weekend.
Rod McDonagh NSW Maritime Manager Waterways Operations North Area said ‘Operation Ride Safe’ focused on speed, lifejacket wear, anti-social behaviour, and licensing and registration in a bid to promote conscientiousness and waterway safety.
“Having emerged from lockdown and heading into the peak of summer our waterways are extremely busy, which is why campaigns like this are so important to ensure everyone is staying safe while having fun,” Mr McDonagh said.
“While the compliance rate was 90 per cent, there were still too many people breaking the law with licensing and registration issues the top offence. This accounted for 60 per cent of breaches followed by speeding and then behavioral matters.
“It was encouraging that the majority of jet ski riders were adhering to safety requirements and observing speed and distances off restrictions. It’s about courtesy to all waterway users whether they be in a boat, swimming or on another jet ski.”
Mr McDonagh said jet ski safety was particularly important this boating season due to its increase in popularity over the past year.
“We have seen a 16 per cent increase in jet ski licences and registrations in the past 12 months compared to the previous year,” Mr McDonagh said.
“This means we expect to see more people out on the waterways using jet skis this summer, with a number of them new to the activity and having less experience.
“For those who have just received their licence we urge you to take it slow, learn how to operate your jet ski and take extra caution while your experience grows.
“This same message is aimed at anyone who has not ridden their jet ski since last boating season and may have recently brought it out of the garage to enjoy over summer.
“Our message to all boaters and jet skiers is clear – have fun but always keep safety top-of-mind when heading out on the water. This means always wearing a lifejacket, keeping a proper lookout, and checking the weather before and during your trip.”
Boating Safety Officers carried out more than 221 random safety checks of jet ski riders over two days along the North Coast including around Lake Macquarie, Tweed Heads and Port Stephens areas.
For more information on jet ski safety and licensing, visithttps://www.nsw.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-03/Personal-watercraft-handbook.pdf