Start season with a vessel safety check

Central Coast boat owners are being urged to check their vessels and safety equipment before heading out on the water after many having been sitting idle during the COVID-19 lockdown.

With the October long weekend officially launching boating season, and National Safe Boating Week from October 2 to 8, the three key aspects are maintenance, safety equipment and wearing lifejackets.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority CEO, Sachi Wimmer, said boats needed regular maintenance, servicing and safety checks to keep them shipshape.

“It is also important boaters think about how things could go wrong and be prepared by having the right safety equipment on board, which is well maintained and accessible in an emergency,” she said.

“I would particularly highlight the benefits of wearing lifejackets.

“Survival experts tell us that if you go overboard with a lifejacket on, your chances of survival are significantly better,” Wimmer said.

There has been an increase in the number of people applying for new boating licences over the past year and the Coast’s waterways are expected to be inundated as residents and visitors take to the water as COVID restrictions wind down.

If you’re thinking of buying a secondhand boat be sure to check it over properly and lifejackets are the most important safety equipment on any recreational vessel.

In NSW you must service inflatable lifejackets once a year or in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

There were 17 boating related fatalities on NSW waterways in the year to June 30, 2021; 131 lives have been lost during recreational boating incidents over the 10 years to June 2020.

Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner, Stacey Tannos, said with around two thirds of all calls to Marine Rescue relating to problems with engines, batteries and fuel, now is the time to get your vessel ready for the boating season.

“Simple things such as changing the fuel, oil and oil filter, checking the engine, gearbox and propeller; charging the battery, testing the electronics and making sure you have the required safety equipment can mean the difference between a safe and enjoyable day on the water and a potentially life threatening situation,” Tannos said.

A boating safety checklist is available online at

Sue Murray