Warning to skippers: wear lifejackets beyond Bald Head
News for the Department of Transport
There's concern complacent skippers are risking their safety and that of their passengers by not insisting on the wearing of lifejackets while boating in the fast-changing conditions of the Southern Ocean.
Department of Transport (DoT) Operations Manager Noel Chambers said there could be vastly different conditions experienced in the relatively protected waters of King George Sound compared with the open waters of the Southern Ocean.
"It is recommended lifejackets are worn at all the times, particularly when navigating beyond Bald Head where vessels move from protected waters to the open sea and the change in conditions mean skippers can experience rough and hazardous seas," Mr Chambers said.
"In an emergency there is often not time to put on a lifejacket and in the cold, rough Southern Ocean a lifejacket can keep a person afloat and alive."
The warning from authorities coincides with an opportunity for skippers in the region to participate in the Old4New lifejacket upgrade.
The Old4New program, delivered in conjunction with the Royal Life Saving Society of Western Australia, is an upgrade opportunity where old, damaged, obsolete or foam filled lifejackets can be exchanged for a voucher for use at a local retail outlet when purchasing a new lifejacket.
The program has seen more than 2,500 unsafe lifejackets taken off boats in WA. Voucher limits and restrictions are in place to ensure the benefits of the program apply to as many vessels as possible so people who want to participate should check the guidelines on the Lifejackets page.
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