New life jacket laws introduced

IT is now a legal requirement for all children under the age of 12 to wear life jackets on small boats.

There are also new rules for adults and older children on recreational boats.

Laws which came into effect on Monday state that all children under 12 must now wear a lifejacket on vessels smaller than 4.8 metres, or when in open areas of moving vessels smaller than eight metres.

The new laws also require everyone on a vessel less than 4.8 metres to wear lifejackets at night, when they are in open ocean waters, or on alpine waters or when boating alone, regardless of age.

Skippers now also have the legal authority to require passengers to wear a lifejacket in circumstances they deem unsafe, such as after a breakdown or in rough weather.

NSW Ports and Waterways Minister Eric Roozendaal says the new laws have been introduced after extensive consultation with the community.

“Lifejackets save lives, but they can’t save your life if you’re not wearing one,” Mr Roozendaal said.

“I remind all boaters to familiarise themselves with the safety requirements, especially those who have smaller boats or children under 12.”

There will be a 12-month advisory period as boaters get used to the new rules, with warnings to be handed out for first offences.



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