NSW Maritime Lifejacket donation to School

NSW Marine Teachers Vice President Greg McNiell (at left) pictured today with students of Newman Senior Technical College, Port Macquarie, and the school’s Marine Studies teacher Warren Bridge (at right).
NSW Maritime today presented inflatable lifejackets to the Marine Teachers Association in Port Macquarie who are teaching and inspiring others to be safe and responsible on our waterways.

NSW Maritime have handed over some of 200 inflatable lifejackets to be used by schools in boating safety programs.

The gift today was part of the total gift and comprised 20 inflatable lifejackets given to Newman Senior Technical College, Port Macquarie. The college is doing an admirable job of training and preparing young people for work in a variety of fields, including the maritime sector.

NSW Maritime is proud to be part of this program, which has the support of the Boating Industry Association of NSW, to help our partners in safety, the Marine Teachers.

The Marine Teachers provide an excellent service to the community through education and promotion of safe and responsible boating. They are role models in safety to our future generations of boaters.

With almost 500,000 boat licence holders in NSW, it is important for all skippers to make sure they have a lifejacket on board for every person, and to know when to wear them.

Boating is one of Australia’s favourite family pastimes and knowing some simple rules gives skippers peace of mind, and also helps ensure that their crew are in good hands.

The ‘gift’ lifejackets were part of a broader effort to raise awareness of changes to lifejacket rules than came into effect on 1 November 2010.

This is one way to raise awareness of the new lifejacket laws, especially the need to wear lifejackets at times of heightened risk such as boating alone or boating offshore.

Lifejackets save lives, and this is all about encouraging a culture of safe and responsible boating.

NSW Maritime stated there had been a significant statewide improvement in boating safety so far this season with a decrease in the number of boating fatalities, serious injuries, and reported incidents on NSW waters since July 2010.

These results are extremely pleasing and encouraging, and show our waterways can be much safer when boaters pay attention to safety.

NSW Maritime has increased it's safety education and advisory programs with the three year $3 million safe boating education and communications strategy placing a big emphasis on the You’re the Skipper – You’re Responsible campaign, and on wearing lifejackets at times of heightened risk.

Safe boating practices have seen a drop in fatalities by 79 per cent and a drop in serious injuries by 58 per cent compared to the same period last year.

Compared to the previous period, there were:

· 115 recreational vessel incidents, down 40 per cent from 191
· 29 commercial vessel incidents, down 33 per cent from 43
· 3 fatalities, down 79 per cent from 14
· 18 serious injuries, down 58 per cent from 43.

The past year had seen substantial safety awareness efforts focused on the importance of lifejackets.

New lifejacket laws took effect from 1 November 2010, requiring lifejackets to be worn more frequently by boat passengers on more types of vessels for safety reasons.

Too often boating fatalities have occurred where lifejackets were on board, but the person involved was not wearing one. A lifejacket will not save your life if you’re not wearing it.

While the downward trend for NSW boating statistics in the latter half of 2010 and early 2011 was encouraging, it was not time to relax.

More information on boating safety is at www.maritime.nsw.gov.au and at the NSW Maritime ‘Safety Ambassador’ site www.boatforlife.com.au