New lifejacket rules to improve boating safety and reduce deaths from drowning will come into effect from 1 November 2010.
Under the rules, people will be required to wear lifejackets at times of heightened risk.
The reforms are the result of a NSW Maritime discussion paper on the issue, which generated a strong response from the boating community with a record 3615 submissions.
The new rules for wearing lifejackets include:
By children less than 12 years of age when:
- in a vessel less than 4.8 metres;
- when in an open area of a vessel less than 8 metres in length that is underway;
By all boaters in a vessel less than 4.8 metres in the following heightened risk situations:
- at night;
- on open (ocean) waters;
- on alpine waters; and
- when boating alone;
At times of ‘Skipper Judgement and Direction’ in ‘heightened risk’ situations such as when the weather worsens or the boat breaks down;
When water-skiing or wakeboarding;
When operating a canoe or kayak on:
- enclosed waters, when more than 100 metres from shore; and
- ocean waters.
There will be a 12-month advisory period while boaters get used to the new rules, where NSW Maritime will only penalise repeat offenders.