Hefty fine reminder for skippers to stay away from swimmers

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Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) Manager Maritime Investigations Craig Purdon said a 22 year old man from the ACT was today fined $1750 for colliding with a swimmer on Easter Saturday last year at Lake Burrinjuck.

'On 7 April 2012, a 13 year old girl had been wading near the beach at Good Hope Resort Lake Burrinjuck when she was hit by a ski boat,' Mr Purdon said.

'The girl suffered deep cuts to her lower left leg and required extensive surgery.

'Throughout the day, the skipper of the ski boat and his father had been taking turns in towing water skiers behind their boat.

'During the afternoon, the 22 year old skipper brought the boat in towards the beach at high speed and carried out a wide sweeping turn to drop off the skier.

'After the skier dropped off, the boat was navigated at high speed close to the beach when it struck the girl in the water.

'After an investigation by RMS Maritime Investigations Unit, the skipper was charged with a number of offences including Operating a Recreational Vessel Negligently causing Grievous Bodily Harm.

'He pleaded guilty before Magistrate Mark Richardson in Yass Local Court to the main charge. RMS then dropped the lesser charges.

'Magistrate Richardson fined the skipper $1750 plus court costs, noting the skipper’s remorse, the psychological effects the incident had on him as well as the ongoing consequences for the victim.

'This is a reminder to anyone with a boat driver’s licence of some of the key boating safety tenets – the importance of keeping to a safe speed, keeping a proper lookout and maintaining a safe distance from people and property such as boats or wharves,' Mr Purdon said.

For more information on boating safety, including distance off requirements, go to Maritime NSW website