Keep PDFs in top nick
ONE of the biggest challenges facing boating safety in Tasmania is educating users of inflatable life jackets.
Marine and Safety Tasmania (MAST) claims about half of life jackets used by the boating community are inflatable.
Based on registration numbers, MAST estimated there could be as many as 150,000 life jackets in Tasmania alone, on recreational boats — about 78,000 inflatables being used.
Manager of recreational boating Peter Hopkins said MAST conducted numerous safety and flare displays around the state and surveys at these events indicated that no more than 10 per cent had their inflatables serviced and checked as per the manufacturer’s recommendations.
He said inflatable life jackets, or PFDs as they were becoming known, needed to be treated with respect and looked after.
This was more so than the familiar foam-filled jackets.
‘‘Who leaves the mooring, marina or boat ramp expecting to be in a marine incident?’’ he asked.
‘‘The answer is none of us, but it is well known that many incidents occur, some of which do not reach media outlets and consequently no publicity is given to them,’’ he said. ‘‘For those who go boating, there would have been times when you would have been in a situation that actually had you and probably those on board reasonably concerned.
‘‘Once a person is in the water their chances of drowning increases, and these chances increase dramatically if they are wearing an inflatable and it does not work.
‘‘There have been cases where people have drowned due to jackets not inflating.
‘‘It may not be the jacket’s fault, the person wearing it may have knocked their head during the incident or they were not given instruction on how to inflate the jacket.
‘‘Between servicing owners of inflatables should self test the jackets to ensure they are working.
‘‘This involves blowing them up manually and leaving them overnight to ensure the bladder is ok. Also ensure the canister is tight and not rusty. It may only have to be a little loose for the canister not to work.
‘‘Ensure when you next go boating to check your life jackets and please, have them serviced, it may just save your or the crew’s life,’’ he said.