Home' Afloat : AFLOAT January 2018 Contents Take monthly with water January 2018 33
With the festive season well and truly upon
us, it is perhaps sobering to note that alcohol
continues to play a role in trauma on the
waterways. Alcohol is in the top five contributing
factors in fatal incidents after weather conditions,
excessive speed, hazardous waters and lack of/
If you are the skipper, you’re responsible for the
safety of your vessel and all those on board.
Remember, the 0.05 limit and RBT apply on the
waterways as well as the roads.
WEAR A LIFEJACKET
Keeping a proper lookout is particularly important during events such as Australia Day.
The Australian Water Safety Strategy sets an
ambitious goal of achieving a 50 per cent reduction
in drowning by 2020. The starting point for that
aspiration was 2008.
Whilst some gains are being made, such as NSW
last year recording the lowest fatal boating incident
rate in at least 40 years, there remains much to do.
Transport for NSW analysis reveals preventable
fatalities continue to occur and wearing a lifejacket
is considered to more than double the chance of
Lifejackets are a vital piece of safety equipment
when on or near the water. Evolution in design
has led to a range of lifejacket styles in positive
buoyancy (“foam”) and inflatable. Inflatable
lifejackets however require extra care and
mandatory servicing to ensure that they will work
as intended when needed.
• Choose the most appropriate lifejacket for
your height and weight, ability and water-
• There are two common styles of lifejackets –
positive buoyancy (“foam”) and inflatable.
• Foam lifejackets are relatively easy to care for,
and require no mandatory servicing.
• Inflatable lifejackets are less bulky and allow
greater ease of movement, but require extra
care, and must be serviced according to the
• Take time to know the difference and choose
what is best for you and your activity.
• Always perform a pre-wear visual check of any
lifejacket to ensure:
h No visible signs of wear and tear
h All buckles zips and straps are not broken
and in good condition
• With inflatable models you must also check:
h The CO2 cylinder is full and screwed
firmly in, hand tight.
h The auto cartridge (if an automatic model)
is screwed firmly in, hand tight.
h The pull-cord is clear and ready for use if
Routine inspection and care of
• Check use by date on auto cartridge (if fitted).
• Check service date.
• Inspect the CO2 cylinder for corrosion or
damage, and the bladder for signs of abrasion
• Inflate the bladder using the oral tube, until
firm and leave overnight, inspect for any air
loss or damage.
• If the lifejacket is set for auto-inflation, remove
the auto-inflation cartridge prior to rinsing.
• Wash the jacket in warm soapy water and air
If there are signs of corrosion, wear, damage or
leaks, take the lifejacket to a professional
service agent or dispose of it appropriately –
do not try to repair it yourself.
• Thoroughly dry the lifejacket and store in a
dry and well ventilated place away from direct
Service of inflatable models
• Inflatable lifejackets must be serviced once a
year or in accordance with the manufacturer’s
instructions. Some manufacturers may permit
• If you use a professional service, make
sure that you keep all of your receipts and
certificates as confirmation of your service.
Transport for NSW analysis also points to the need
for people operating all types of craft to take extra
care and be aware of their responsibilities when it
comes to keeping a proper lookout.
The International Regulations for Preventing
Collisions at Sea (the Collision Regulations) require
that vessel operators ‘shall at all times maintain a
proper lookout by sight and hearing as well as by
all available means appropriate in the prevailing
circumstances and conditions so as to make a
full appraisal of the situation and of the risk of
The Collision Regulations are adopted and applied
in NSW. Significantly, these regulations apply to
the operator of any vessel regardless of whether
the vessel is required to be registered or not, and
whether the operator is required to be licensed or
not. These regulations apply equally to a person
paddling a kayak, as they do to the master of a
The basic requirement is for the operator/ master/
skipper to maintain a proper lookout at all times
and to take action to avoid a collision.
Transport for NSW found that a lack of a proper
lookout was the second most commonly reported
primary cause of serious injury incidents over the
past 10 years. No proper lookout was also reported
as being the third most commonly reported primary
cause of boating incidents in general.
Maintaining a proper lookout requires more effort
on the skippers’ part as speed increases, visibility
worsens, weather conditions deteriorate and the
numbers of other people sharing the waterways
An overwhelming majority of fatal boating
incidents occur when a vessel is underway. The
next largest proportion happens during towing
activities. Maintaining a proper lookout is vital at
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