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Don’t wear a life jacket? You don’t just endanger yourself

18 August 2014

When you take to the water a vast network stands ready to come to your aid.

These emergency workers are willing to put their lives on the line at a minute’s notice if you run into trouble.

A radio call for help will trigger a response from paid professionals, such as police officers, and teams of volunteers, who are ready 24 hours a day.

Often they must venture into treacherous conditions and take risks to do what they can to help.

Examples of bravery are numerous. Last year Lorne police officer David Cooper and Nicholas Costello rescued a 12-year-old boy from the sea near Lorne. The boy and his father became stuck in a rip where St George River runs into the sea. Unfortunately the boy’s father died.

Sgt Cooper and Nicholas received the Australian Search and Rescue Award for outstanding contribution to search and rescue in 2013.

The awards commended three crew members of the Victorian Police helicopter for their role in rescuing a Russian solo sailor in rough seas approximately 110 nautical miles south east of Mallacoota.

If you haven’t taken proper safety precautions you not only endanger yourself, but the lives of individuals like these who are willing to come to your aid.

By checking the weather, familiarising yourself with the conditions and servicing your boat you reduce your risk on the water.

By wearing a life jacket and carrying an emergency beacon you increase your chances of survival and make it easier for someone trying to rescue you.

Before you take to the water, consider what others are willing to do to keep you safe. Double check you are doing what you can to stay safe on your boat.