Ensure your safety equipment meets requirements before heading out on the river this summer

Photo: File.
Photo: File.

As the weather heats up the river is set to get busier as those in pursuit of a thrill head out onto the Murray.

However, the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure urge boaters headed out on the river to carry suitable safety equipment and wear a lifejacket on the water.

In a statement issued by DPTI flares or EPIRBs (emergency position-indicating radio beacon) are the most common items to expire, but inflatable jackets also need to be checked every year to ensure they will function as required. 

Equipment should be in good condition, to ensure efficient use, and should be cared for as life jackets or personal flotation devices (PFDs) should not have any tears or straps that are frayed. 

Despite their popularity, due to their ease of wearing, inflatable lifejackets are susceptible to damage from normal use. 

During the winter months these items are often placed in storage, unused for months, and should be checked to ensure proper use before heading out on to the river. 

DPTI noted that boat operators have a duty of care for their own safety, the vessel and the people who may be affected by their actions.

Under current legislation people on a boat are required to wear a lifejacket on an open area of boats 4.8 to 12 metres at times of “heightened risk”. 

Lifejackets are required to be worn on tender vessels and dragon boats, surf skis and paddleboard when operating more than 400m from the shore or on protected waters. 

Carry suitable equipment

  • Every boat must carry suitable safety equipment
  • The operator has a duty of care for everyone on board
  • Safety equipment must be in good working order
  • Expiry date of equipment should be noted

Being safe on board 

  • Check the weather, consider general rule ‘if in doubt, don’t go out.’
  • Ensure boat is seaworthy 
  • Inform a responsible person at home
  • Check all required safety equipment is on board
  • Check motor