Boaters hit with fines for flouting laws

SAFETY CHECKS: Victorian water police were in the south-west as part of Operation Ramp Stop on the weekend.

SAFETY CHECKS: Victorian water police were in the south-west as part of Operation Ramp Stop on the weekend.

SEVEN boaters were caught flouting speed limits in the Portland harbour on the weekend.

The offenders were putting their lives in danger, Leading Senior Constable Andrew Gough from the Victorian water police said.

“There’s the potential for injury and even fatalities,” Leading Senior Constable Gough said.

“The Portland harbour is an extremely busy harbour with large ships and a lot of small recreational vessels.” 

The seven offenders were each issued with a $317 fine as part of Operation Ramp Stop.

Leading Senior Constable Gough said a number of boat users admitted they were not aware an eight knot speed limit was in place in the harbour.

“We were checking boat safety and ensuring vessels were complying with the speed limits,” Leading Senior Constable Gough said.

“There are signs advising of the speed limit and we encourage people to check those before they go out boating,” he said.

Over the course of the weekend, Victoria Police conducted checks at Portland, Port Fairy and Warrnambool.

“We checked over 100 boats and 30 penalty notices were issued,” he said.

“There were a lot of warnings issued as well.”

In addition to speeding fines, a number of boaters were charged for not complying with safety regulations.

Leading Senior Constable Gough said police were concerned some boaters did not have safety equipment that was easily accessible, while other vessels were in need of maintenance to ensure they were safe.

“We find when we ask people to produce their safety equipment some don’t have it on hand – it can take them a long time to even find it.

“We urge people to have safety equipment well maintained and ready available,” he said.

Leading Senior Constable Gough said safety equipment should be checked before every trip.

He said Operation Ramp Stop was expected to be rolled out in other areas of the state.

He urged people to check Maritime Safety Victoria's lifejacket website wearalifejacket.vic.gov.au to find out about the safety requirements for boat users. 

A lifejacket must be carried for each person on board a power-driven boat measuring 4.8 - 12 metres. 

If on a power-driven boat up to and including 4.8m in length, all people on board must wear a Type 1 lifejacket when in an open area of a vessel that is under way.