LOCAL water police have been twice as busy with searche and rescue operations: Sergeant Jeff Barnett (left) and Constable Chris Findlay.
LOCAL water police have been twice as busy with searche and rescue operations: Sergeant Jeff Barnett (left) and Constable Chris Findlay. Chrissy Harris

Boaties urged to play it safe

LOCAL water police have experienced twice their normal average of marine searches and rescues in the past year.

Sergeant Jeff Barnett said boaties needed to be alert, log on and off with VMR, check their safety gear, make sure their boat is seaworthy and avoid drinking alcohol.

“They need to stick within their and their vessel's capabilities and make sure everyone knows how to use the safety equipment,” Sgt Barnett said.

Extreme weather events, human error, inattention and alcohol were the main factors in a spike in marine-related fatalities in 2009, Transport Minister Rachel Nolan revealed.

The 2009 Marine Incidents in Queensland report tabled in Parliament shows 14 fatal marine incidents last year resulted in 20 deaths. The report shows one-third of fatalities were associated with extreme weather events, highlighting the need for boaties to make more informed choices before heading out.

The consumption of alcohol and/or illegal drugs was involved in six deaths in four separate marine incidents.

Error in judgment was a contributing factor in 10 fatal incidents which resulted in the deaths of 16 people and failure to keep a proper lookout played a role in two single-fatality incidents.

Of the 768 marine incidents reported in Queensland, one in 20 was either a fatal or serious injury incident.

“There are more recreational vessels than ever on the water in Queensland and people need to take more care,” Ms Nolan said.



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