Have a say on boating rules

Callum HunterSouth Western Times

South West boaties have weighed in on the State Government’s proposed changes to recreational safety measures.

The position paper proposed there be no mandated safety equipment for any vessel in protected waters or within 400m of shore in unprotected waters and was released for public consultation last month to mixed responses.

Sea Soaring Marine Recreational Skipper’s Tickets director Wayne Baddock said he would give the paper a 4/10 rating in some places and an 8/10 in others.

“Some of the aspects I believe are quite unsafe and for me the big issue is no safety gear required at all in any vessel up to 400m in unprotected waters,” he said.

“Whilst they’ve gone very good at the top end (digital technology) ... by eliminating some of the more basic early intervention methods of safety, I think it could result in a lot of people resorting to the EPIRB or the personal locator beacon straight away.”

Sports Marine Boat Centre manager Russell Dawson agreed with Mr Baddock that no mandatory safety equipment within 400m of shore or in sheltered waters was dangerous.

“Generally a small vessel, if it’s in relatively close, would be out there on a day when you have an offshore breeze,” he said.

“400m can change very, very quickly if you’re in a breakdown situation with an offshore breeze.”

Millard Marine owner Rod Vanoosten said so long as the movement forward was simplified rather than complicated, the changes were a good thing.

“I think there is some grey area, but at the same time, I hate seeing knee-jerk reactions and complexities created when there isn’t a problem,” he said.

Public submissions can be made until November 22.

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