Clarence boaties urged to keep safe in cold conditions

ROADS and Maritime Services is advising boaters to ensure they are adequately prepared before embarking on cold weather boating trips, particularly if venturing out alone.

Roads and Maritime Services Maritime Director Angus Mitchell said boaters should be aware the Bureau of Meteorology has reiterated another cold snap has been predicted to come through later on Wednesday over southern and central ranges and northern ranges from Thursday.

"In the five years to the end of June, there were 19 reported boating incidents involving hypothermia, including four incidents which resulted in five fatalities - two on the south coast, one in the Hunter area and two on the Hawkesbury River," he said.

Of the 19 incidents which resulted in hypothermia cases, 11 resulted from the boat capsizing.

"Mid-winter, boaters need to remember the potentially deadly consequences of immersion in cold water and the need to guard against hypothermia.

"All boaters should prepare for the possibility of suffering hypothermia while out on the water, which can result from immersion or from being in damp or wet clothes and being exposed to wind chill.

"Clothing needs to maintain body heat when wet, such as woollen or thermal fabrics and add a lifejacket for an extra layer and further warmth and added insurance in case of capsize.

"All people on open or alpine waters must wear a lifejacket in boats smaller than 4.8 metres.

"If you become hypothermic and are not wearing a lifejacket, there is a high risk you may lose consciousness and drown.

"Obvious signs of hyperthermia are intense shivering, slurred speech, confusion, slowing pulse and dilated eye pupils.

"Mr Mitchell said all boaters should tell a friend or family member where they are intending to go boating and when they expect to be back, or log their trip with Marine Rescue NSW.



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