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Marine15 international conference set for
the first week of May on the Gold Coast will
feature a number of sessions that deal with the
importance of wearing lifejackets while boating.
It was at the 2013 edition of this conference
that the International Lifejacket Wear Principles
were signed by founding organistations from
New Zealand, France, United Kingdom, Canada
These founding organisations signed up to the
principles because they shared similar concerns
around boating safety. The universal issue was
that around four out of five people who drowned
when boating had not worn a lifejacket and that
the people most at risk were males in vessels
under six metres long.
Today there are 39 organisations stretching
across the world who have signed up to the
principles which are as follows:
• We recognise the fundamental role
the wearing of lifejackets plays in the
safeguarding of life for water users;
• We recognise the importance of promoting
the wearing of lifejackets when boating;
• We endeavour to ensure that any
publication including brochures, DVD, video,
websites, and the like will feature all people
wearing contemporary style lifejackets
when in an outside area of a small craft that
• We recommend to the recreational boating
industry that its publications similarly
feature all people shown wearing lifejackets
when in an outside area of a small craft that
• We require on-water education and
compliance staff to wear lifejackets
whenever they are on the water;
• We use the term “lifejacket” in public
information and education; and
• We encourage respective boating safety
networks to become ‘safety partners’ by
supporting the above principles.
Maritime Management Centre spokesman Neil
Patchett said the principles were “non binding”
and aimed to build international collaboration
in awareness and education. More information
is available at http://lifejacketwear.com/
“It all boils down to the fact that a great day out
in a boat is a safe day and one of the simplest
ways to be safe is to wear a lifejacket in a small
boat,” Patchett said. “Fortunately, modern
lifejackets are a far cry from the old block-of-
foam types and are functional, practical and can
be worn in comfort for the duration of a typical
day out in a boat.
“It’s easy to be complacent and think ‘nothing
will happen to me’ but we all need to remember
that disaster can strike, sometimes in an instant.”
Patchett said that as of Easter this year there
had been 18 fatalities on NSW waterways for
the boating season, with 11 of these attributed
As many as eight of these, could have been
prevented with the use of lifejackets. And while
most fatalities involve 35-55 year old males in
runabouts, there is an increasing number of
victims over 55 years of age. Of this group, a
number have resulted from falling overboard
and were unable to self-recover.
While the 2013-14 season was a record low in
terms of fatalities on our waterways and there
was a significant improvement in lifejacket wear
rates, the 2014-15 season tells us there is little
room for complacency.
The message remains: Wear a lifejacket – it
never ruined a day on the water.
For more information, go to
More than 400 members of the boating
community will come together for the
Marine15 international conference and expo
in the first week of May on the Gold Coast.
Marine15 starts on Sunday 3 May with
keynote speakers including one of Australia’s
leading social and demographic commentators
Bernard Salt and keynote speaker in safety
Howard Glenn of Transport for NSW. This kick
starts a program of more than 30 sessions at
the conference spanning themes across the
marina industry, boating industry and boating
The international speakers include: Rachel
Johnson of the National Safe Boating Council
of the USA; Jean Murray of the Canadian
Safe Boating Council; Kerry Moher of Freshair
Eduators, Canada; and Dr Ed Mahoney of
Michigan University, USA.
The event covers priority issues facing
the boating sector and provides a unique
opportunity to share information and develop
solutions to current and emerging issues.
In a futher boost to the conference, the Gold
Coast Waterways Authority is partnering with
the Maritime Management Centre (NSW) to
host a Waterways Management Forum that will
explore solutions to access and infrastructure.
There will also be a Data Connection Forum
to explore better ways to record and analyse
information on boating usage and safety.
More details can be found at http://marine15.
International Boating Conference
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