MORE than one quarter of all boat skippers checked in a recent pre-summer blitz were turned away from ramps for failing safety requirements.
The Department of Transport (DoT) is promising to be just as thorough during another set of checks this weekend.
DoT officers spent the October 29-30 weekend at boat ramps between Hillarys and Two Rocks and of the 240 checks, 63 vessels were found to be non-compliant.
DoT compliance and investigations manager Peter Beattie said out of date flares and defective trailers accounted for the majority of failures.
One skipper was issued an infringement for an unregistered vessel, while 20 skippers were slapped with cautions, the majority coming for defective trailers.
“Skippers are responsible for the regular maintenance of their trailer, vessel and safety equipment, which includes checking that flares and EPIRBs have not expired,” Mr Beattie said.
A second crackdown will take place this weekend (November 19-20) and will be concentrated at launch sites between Woodman Point and Port Kennedy.
Cockburn Volunteer Sea Search and Rescue Group’s commander Brad Nicholassaid his team attends 200 incidents each year, returning more than 600 people safely to land.
He said the majority of rescues come over the summer period, but the increasing popularity of marine related activities meant demand for his team’s services was on the rise all the time.
“We recently towed a couple of capsized vessels back to shore,” he said.
“In one case the occupants were very lucky there was a passing commercial vessel to take them onboard.“In the other the people on board were able to swim to shore. Both of these incidents could have been very different
if luck wasn’t on their side.
“Unfortunately it sometimes takes a serious incident or near miss for people to realise just how vulnerable we can be in the marine environment.”
Mr Beattie said the best way to ensure skippers were compliant was to undertake the 45 point “BEST Check” guide, available on the DoT website.
For information visit www.transport.wa.gov.au, and check out the information under the “marine” header.