Boat owners warned of vessel collision dangers

Date: Nov 18, 2014

People should be aware of the dangers of vessel collisions when they take their boat out on the water, NSW Police have warned.

The force appealed to boat owners after a 62-year-old man was thrown into the water after his 3.5 aluminium punt struck a moored catamaran around 200 m west of North Creek on the Richmond River.

Officers from Richmond Local Area Command and Marine Area Command attended the scene and are currently investigating the incident, although early reports suggest the man was uninjured.
Instead, a 35-year-old witness retrieved the boat owner from the water and then helped him home. The incident occurred on Saturday, November 15 at 9:10pm.

While the man had a lucky escape, boat accidents can be serious and may lead to a public liability injury claim, depending on the individual circumstances surrounding the case.

Detective Superintendent Mark Hutchings, commander of the NSW Marine Area Command, said boat safety measures should be taken into consideration at all times.

He claimed this is particularly true as the state’s waters become busier with summer approaching.

“Keeping vigilant and ensuring safety when heading out on the water is often overlooked,” Mr Hutchings said.

“Extra maritime traffic is expected on NSW waters during the warmer months, as the waters tend to get a lot busier at this time.”

Police tips for better boat safety

NSW Police offered several pieces of advice to boat owners looking to hit the waters over the next couple of months.

Mr Hutchings said officers will be “out in force” to ensure commercial and recreational vessels are following rules and regulations.

“We will be checking all skippers adhere to the speed limits, respect fellow water users, and don’t operate vessels under the influence of drugs or alcohol; just as would be expected out on the roads,” he stated.

Other tips offered by NSW police included:

  • Ensuring there are enough lifejackets on the boat
  • Checking the vessel thoroughly before taking it out on the water
  • Keeping up to date with weather conditions and Bureau of Meteorology alerts
  • Notify a responsible person that you are going out on the water, including details of individuals on-board, destination and time of arrival and departure
  • Be aware of “riskier situations”, such as night-time steering, boating alone, and areas where capsizing is more likely
  • Not taking drugs or alcohol on-board

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