Boaters urged to stay safe
The Rockingham Volunteer Sea Rescue Group wants the boating public to take precautions to be safe out on the water and return home safely this summer.
Over the past three years, the group has averaged 207 rescues a year, assisting more than 500 people who got into trouble out on the water.
Rockingham Volunteer Sea Rescue Group commander Graham Martin said the warmer weather already had boaters on the water in large numbers, and he stressed the importance of taking a range of safety measures.
“Boating is a fantastic pastime, and what we want is for people to go out and have a good time and come home safe; that is the priority,” he said. “The first thing we are really trying to remind people of is to always wear a life jacket.
“It’s just like driving a car, where you use a seatbelt in case something happens. If you get into trouble out on the water, you can’t just get out and walk away for help.”
Mr Martin urged boaters to look into the Old4New life jacket exchange program, which allowed old life jackets to be exchanged for a new one at a reduced price.
“Wearing a life jacket isn’t an inconvenience and wearing one never ruined a good day’s fishing,” he said.
Logging on and off with radio operators before heading out, as well as when returning to shore, was a practice Mr Martin said was essential but that very few people actually did.
“We implore people to log on and log off, we have operators out from 6am- 6pm ready to help,” he said.
Rather than rely on telling a family member an anticipated arrival time home, Mr Martin said officially logging in with marine rescue groups ensured a quick response in the case of potential incidents.
“If you don’t come back at the time you said, after 30 minutes we will contact water police, who will check whether you’ve made it home safely and just forgotten to log off. If you haven’t, that’s when we will send out a search party,” he said. “Logging on and off is the most important thing people can do but only about 10 per cent of people actually do.”
As an added incentive to take these safety measures, Rockingham Volunteer Sea Rescue Group is running a competition until the end of January, with more than $ 2000 of prizes on offer for those who log on and off.
Rockingham Volunteer Sea Rescue Group volunteers Wayne Rance, Graham Martin, Ron Sturgess and Peter Corcoran on board one of the group’s rescue vessels.