A four day Easter break – the perfect time for family outings, chocolate treats and great fun both on and off the water.
But no matter what your plans are or how often you step on board, it’s important to remember there are always greater boating risks at this time of year.
At this time our waterways are full of additional traffic, including less experienced skippers. And the increased water flowing into the River Murray may create further dangers.
So Easter is the perfect time to brush up on your knowledge of boating safety. In the flurry of last minute shopping trips and frantic packing, please make time to run through the following Easter Safety Checklist. It will only take you a few minutes to complete - and it could potentially save yourself and others from harm.
Remember - alcohol and drugs on the water is simply not an option. As well as impairing your judgement, alcohol can lead to rapid exhaustion if you need to swim to safety.
Drug and alcohol testing on the water is now a regular occurrence and a positive test could mean a fine or jail term.
An overloaded boat is unstable and dangerous. Refer to your Australian Builder's Plate (ABP) or manufacturer's compliance plate, if one is fitted to your boat, to determine the maximum number of adults a boat can legally carry. If your vessel does not have either a manufacturer's compliance plate or an ABP, check out our boat capacity guidelines.
Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs), often known as life jackets, are an essential item of marine safety equipment. Check that you have sufficient PFDs for all passengers on your boat and that they are suitable for the activities you have in mind. For more information on the differences between PFDs, visit our Personal Floatation Devices web page.
Run a safety check on your boat to ensure everything is in good working order. In 2009/2010, the most common reasons for calls to Volunteer Marine Rescue (State Emergency Services) for assistance and rescue were a flat battery, electrical fault or being out of fuel. Don’t let these simple problems ruin your Easter holiday or endanger people.
Plan your trip carefully and avoid shipping paths at all costs. There have been several near misses recently when little boats have sailed into the path of big ships. Big ships are unable to stop and are slow to manoeuvre. Their vision is often obscured by items on the ship, such as containers. Sail responsibly - stay out of shipping channels and take a wide berth around big ships.
If you are on the River Murray and you see a hazard please report it to Murray Watch on 8531 0710.
For more boating safety hints and information continue to visit sa.gov.au/boatingmarine.
Happy Easter and safe boating.
Director, Transport Safety Regulation