Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Lifejackets and EPIRBs floated in new boat safety campaign

Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) will join other Australian and New Zealand maritime authorities in a week-long campaign to remind recreational and professional mariners of the importance of lifejackets and distress beacons.

Starting tomorrow and ending on 6 October, the campaign will form the centrepiece of National Safe Boating Week as governments strive to reduce the national death toll from boating incidents.

“Maritime Safety Queensland knows that when skippers and passengers wear lifejackets they have a much better chance of surviving if thrown into the water,” said Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey.

“Conversely, if they aren’t wearing them the outcomes are often deadly. 

“In Queensland in 2022, failure to wear lifejackets was a factor in 80% of boating fatalities.

“But it’s not statistics that boaties need to be thinking about when deciding whether or not to wear a properly-maintained lifejacket – it’s lives, their own and those of their passengers,” he said.

Maritime authorities regard lifejackets and distress beacons (commonly know as EPIRBs) as essential safety equipment for boaties, particularly when venturing offshore.

Distress beacons can quickly alert search and rescue authorities to the precise location of mariners in distress, while lifejackets can keep people afloat until rescued.

It is compulsory in Queensland for vessels voyaging beyond smooth or partially smooth waters, or more than two nautical miles from land in open waters, to carry a distress beacon.

“EPIRBs can be just as important in life-threatening situations where time is of the essence. Having information immediately transmitted to rescue authorities can be a lifesaver,” said Mr Bailey.

“Without the information transmitted by an EPIRB, even if you’ve managed to radio your plight, the search and rescue task can be like looking for a pinprick in the ocean.

“With this in mind, boaties should not forget to register their EPIRB with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

“This will ensure authorities know exactly who and what they are looking for and how to get in touch with their close contacts for further information if needed.”

The week will conclude with ‘Wear Your Lifejacket to Work Day’ on 6 October to help debunk the myth that lifejackets are uncomfortable or cumbersome to wear.

Further information on National Safe Boating Week and lifejackets can be found at  https://www.anzsbeg.com.au/national-safe-boating-week.

Find out more information about carrying proper safety equipment such as lifejackets and EPIRBs.

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