Boaters reminded not to tow more than three at a time

Tow safely
Operation Tow Safe which was carried out on New South Wales waters from 4 to 12 January saw 2,343 recreational vessels and 111 commercial vessels checked by Roads and Maritime Services Boating Safety Officers (BSOs).

Roads and Maritime Services Acting Director Maritime David Hunter said most boaters were found to be operating safely.

'There were 225 penalty notices or fines issued during the campaign, mostly for breaches of lifejacket regulations,' Mr Hunter said.

'After a number of drownings in recent years and a long period of boater education, there is a zero tolerance approach for boaters not wearing lifejackets when required to do so.

'People need to make putting on a lifejacket a habit – a bit like putting on sunscreen, as one day it might just save your life.'

There were 33 penalty notices or fines issued for breaches of towing requirements, including more than one instance of towing more than three people.

In Batemans Bay, a skipper at Corunna Lake was found towing six children on a large towable watercraft.

In Moama, fines were issued to a boater towing seven children on a large towable watercraft. An observer on a personal watercraft (PWC) was also fined for not wearing a lifejacket. In Albury, a fine was issued to the skipper of a PWC for using an eight year old as an observer.

On Sydney Harbour, 33 per cent of fines issued were for not wearing a lifejacket.

'Continued boater education through campaigns such as these are planned to reduce the number of incidents during towing activities,' Mr Hunter said.

'The statewide towing safety campaign has helped identify areas which require greater focus for safety education,' he said.

Roads and Maritime records show in the five years to 2014 there were 56 reported towing related incidents resulting in eight fatalities.

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