Safety made a breeze

Callum HunterSouth Western Times
Koombana Bay Sailing Club Commodore believes it is imperative people are safety conscious while on the water.
Camera IconKoombana Bay Sailing Club Commodore believes it is imperative people are safety conscious while on the water. Credit: Callum Hunter

Royal Life Saving Society WA and the Department of Transport’s Old4New life jacket upgrade initiative has gained momentum in the South West, with four upgrade events hosted in the past week.

Peppermint Grove Beach, Quindalup, Port Geographe and the Bunbury Boat Ramp all played host to the initiative, with the response described as “huge” by Royal Life Saving Society WA senior manager of health and research Lauren Nimmo.

“We’ve seen a number of people coming out, bringing their old life jackets and getting their vouchers to head to their local retailers to purchase new ones,” she said.

“It really is pleasing to see such a strong community engagement with the program.”

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More than 600 old life jackets have been handed in Statewide this year, with boaters all too happy to exchange their old life jackets for new inflatable ones at a discounted rate of $65.

Koombana Bay Sailing Club commodore Jon Birch has been sailing his whole life, and said a lot of people do not realise how fast conditions on the water can change and there have been plenty of recent examples of people dying at sea as a result of not wearing a life jacket.

“We would encourage anybody to wear a lifejacket when they’re at sea, and to make sure the lifejacket is up to scratch,” he said.

“It’s easy to get laissez... but the one thing about sailing and water sports, is how quickly conditions can change.

“People need to be very vigilant, particularly the inexperienced, and so would strongly encourage people to check their old life jackets.”

Miss Nimmo said the next Old4New upgrade event in the South West would not be held until later in the year, but there would be an exchange point on both days of the Mandurah Crabfest on March 17 and 18.

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