Authorities out in force for Operation Blue Water

1593 safety checks conducted on NSW waters during the nine day safety campaign.

The Brunswick River coastal bar on the North Coast of NSW came under the spotlight during the State’s recent marine safety campaign, with three bar crossing incidents occurring during the nine-day campaign.

Roads and Maritime Services acting general manager of maritime operations, Trevor Williams, said Operation Blue Water saw 1593 on-water safety checks conducted. The campaign kicked off on February 11, and finished on Sunday. A total of 79 penalty notices or fines were issued, along with 87 formal warnings.

Mr Williams said most of the fines related to insufficient carriage of required safety equipment, which included items such as torches, sound signals, fire extinguishers and lifejackets.

"All up there were 37 penalty notices issued for safety equipment breaches, followed by 17 for speed," Mr Williams said.

There were three incidents on the Brunswick River bar during this period - all on the first Sunday of the campaign.

"One vessel capsized on the bar, the skipper of another vessel fell overboard while unsuccessfully attempting to cross the bar and a commercial vessel with seven on board sustained structural damage while crossing the bar," Mr Williams said.

"It is crucial to check the conditions before attempting to cross a coastal bar. If in doubt, don’t go out, and remember that the safest time to cross is on an incoming tide."

"However, I’m pleased to report that in all three incidents, all on board were complying with the law and wearing lifejackets," Mr Williams said. There was an average compliance rate of 89.8 per cent across all coastal regions.

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