Boaties on Coffs Coast take up government lifejacket offer
BOATIES on the Coffs Coast have been among many in the state to take advantage of the NSW Government's lifejacket renewal program.
The Nationals Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, praised effort to help reduce boating fatalities.
"Our roving lifejacket van saw 2809 old lifejackets handed in and 3019 new ones purchased across the state," he said.
"This included visits to nearly 100 locations all over the state, including Coffs Harbour.
"The annual boating season has ended with promising results in boating safety.
"In the past 18 months, we've rolled out the biggest boating safety program this state has ever seen."
Mr Fraser said the simple message was to wear a lifejacket.
"Boating fatalities in NSW were down by 63 per cent for the 2013-14 boating season, compared with the previous season.
"Fatalities were also 35 per cent down on the long-term boating season average.
"We need to continue our hard work because six people still died while boating in the past season, although that is compared with 16 for the same period last year.
"In the past decade, nine out of 10 people who drowned while boating were not wearing a lifejacket, which is alarming.
"A recent observational study indicates the current overall wear rates for lifejackets is better than 30 per cent state-wide, which is more than three times higher the previous figure of nine per cent published by the National Marine Safety Committee in 2007.
"It's clear to see we are achieving some good results but the job is far from done.
"People need to get into the habit of putting on a lifejacket in the same way we all remember to put on a sunscreen."