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15th March 2023

A summer compliance operation by Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) found almost half of all boaties intercepted were doing the wrong thing.

The most common offence was speeding followed by failure to carry or correctly use safety equipment.
MSQ is appealing to boaties to improve their attitude to safety. A compliance operation over the school holidays to Australia Day found too many were ignoring the rules.

MSQ's specialist Maritime Enforcement Team (MET) conducted more than 400 hours of patrols over 5,500 kilometres in 20 different waterways.

Broadwater was the most troubling area, with 76 per cent of vessels intercepted being non-compliant and 65 per cent of boaties who were intercepted requiring action.

On the Sunshine Coast, the Noosa River was another non-compliance hot spot, where 55 per cent of vessels stopped were operating outside the rules.

MET officers intercepted 894 vessels and took enforcement action with 339 between 1 December 2022 and 31 January 2023.

Of these, 48 per cent were found to be breaking the safety rules.

Across the entire area covered by the MET, the most common fines and warnings were for speeding (43 per cent). Safety equipment infringements, including lifejacket offences, were the second most common offence category. Speeding and failure to carry or use safety equipment are two of boating's 'fatal five' mistakes followed by poor trip planning, failure to keep a proper lookout, and alcohol or drug use.

Maritime Safety Queensland will redouble its efforts to educate boaties on the fatal five.

"Boaties need to clearly understand the message that speeding costs lives on the water, just as it does on the roads,” Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey, said.
"It is concerning that enforcement officers found such a high rate of unsafe behaviours out on our waterways this summer.

"Having one in every two boaties doing the wrong thing is simply unacceptable.

"In increasingly busy waterways, it is important boaties operate within the rules, use safety equipment and travel at a safe speed

"Boaties can continue to expect to see MSQ enforcement officers active on the water this year."

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