NSW Maritime conducted a compliance blitz, across the state and in the Hunter over the long weekend.
More than 2,700 vessel safety checks were carried out and of those 159 fines and 252 warnings were issued.
The top three offences were life jacket non-compliance, driving or riding unlicensed and failing to carry or maintain safety equipment.
NSW Maritime Campaign Coordinator Shane Davey said warm weather kept officers busy during Operation Stay Afloat – Prepare to Launch, the maiden campaign of NSW Maritime’s new season-long safety initiative.
“The recent jump in temperatures has seen waterways busier than usual for this time of year, and with a long, hot summer predicted it’s a trend we expect to continue. While it’s great to see people enjoying the water, the high volume of vessels makes it even more important boaters put safety first,
“We’ve seen a concerning number of child related lifejacket offences with almost 750 over the last year. It’s an offence to be on your boat without a lifejacket if you are alone or with a child under 12. As people head out for family fun on the water, remember if you have kids on board make their safety a priority. Check they have a lifejacket, that it’s on, it fits, and you’re wearing one yourself.
“A lifejacket can only save your life if you’re wearing it. Even if you’re taking a short trip or the conditions are calm, put it on. We’ve seen too many accidents that end in tragedy.”
Mr Davey said NSW Maritime Boating Education Officers interacted with almost 1700 people over the weekend, sharing safety tips and local knowledge.
“If it’s been a while since you’ve been out at a particular spot or need some advice on equipment, the team will be out all season and are here to help, so if you see them at the boat ramp say G’day.
“Our advice to everyone is make sure you’re ready to launch; check your vessel, make sure safety equipment is serviced and in good working order and monitor weather conditions before and during your time on the water. We want everyone to come home safely at the end of the day.”