Boaties are warned to vest up as Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) cracks down on lifejackets this summer.
Residents of the Bundaberg Region are encouraged to ensure they are safe on the water by following all safety requirements.
According to the Department of Transport and Main Roads, Bundaberg has seen an increase in the number of boats registered over the past year by 3.32% overall, with a number of local residents expected to be taking to the water this summer.
Minister for Fisheries and Rural Communities Mark Furner said the crackdown followed an alarming rise in boating fatalities.
“Tragically there were 17 deaths on our waters last year and already this year we have seen another 13 lives lost with the peak boating season still ahead of us,” Mr Furner said.
“These heartbreaking statistics are unacceptable and for the most part, avoidable.
“No matter the cause, the chances of boaties surviving if they go overboard increase greatly when they are wearing a lifejacket.
“That’s why enforcement officers will be out in force this summer to make sure boaties have the right lifejackets, they are properly maintained and being worn when required.”
Member for Sandgate Stirling Hinchliffe said the fatal five were the leading cause of crashes on the water.
“Just as we have the ‘fatal five’ on our roads, we know there are five readily identifiable causes for serious boating incidents,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“They include not keeping a proper lookout, failure to carry and use the appropriate safety equipment such as lifejackets, speeding, alcohol and drug use, and poor trip planning.
“It’s second nature for motorists to buckle up on the road and the same should apply to wearing lifejackets on the water this summer.”
Mr Furner said lifejacket rules were in place for a reason.
“Skippers are required by law to carry appropriately sized and maintained lifejackets for themselves and their passengers,” he said.
“In some cases, it is compulsory to wear them, such as crossing designated coastal bars in an open boat of less than 4.8 metres.
“This is more important than ever especially with a significant rise in recreational boating sales during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Queensland boaties can brush up on lifejacket rules at the MSQ website.
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