Life jackets save lives

MARITIME Safety Victoria (MSV) has urged boaters to err on the side of caution when heading out to sea.

Peter Corcoran, director of MSV, said boaters should take extreme caution when boating along the Victorian coastline.

“If in doubt, don’t go out,” he said.

SEARCHING: Emergency services search for two fishermen missing after the discovery of an overturned boat. Picture: Rob Gunstone

SEARCHING: Emergency services search for two fishermen missing after the discovery of an overturned boat. Picture: Rob Gunstone

“Not all small vessels are suitable for operating in coastal conditions and wave action can be unpredictable – especially near underwater features.

Mr Corcoran’s comments come after Coroner Rosemary Carlin handed down findings into the deaths of Ronald Edgar Kolody and Geoffrey Stuart McInnes in October 2015.

Mr Corcoran said sudden changes in conditions could have fatal consequences, as seen in the tragic drownings near the Warrnambool breakwater.

He said preparation for boaters was vital and reminded fishermen to always check the weather conditions before heading out.

Mr Corcoran urged people to familiarise themselves with navigational hazards and dangerous areas, to use up-to-date charts and boating safety information signage, and to wear life jackets at all times and carry a means of raising an alarm in the case of an emergency.

“Simply put, life jackets save lives,” he said.

“The law states the minimum safety requirements on the water, but we urge boaters to go beyond compliance. 

“We also want to remind people the water can get very cold in Victoria – you could only have a matter of minutes to call for help if you fall overboard,” he said.

MSV has urged boaters to:

  • Check the weather
  • Familiarise yourself with local conditions
  • Wear a life jacket
  • Have multiple means to raise the alarm – a mobile phone, emergency beacon, marine radio and flares.

Boating Industry Association of Victoria chief executive officer John Temple said the organisation was pleased to note Victoria’s annual boating fatalities were 40 per cent lower than the year mandatory life jacket laws were introduced.

“BIAV agrees with the wearing of life jackets in regard to the current regulations and promotes that boaters always ensure their safety first,” he said.

“BIAV actively support the State Government’s commitment to reducing fatalities on Victorian waters by 30 per cent over the next five years.”