PLANS to modernise WA’s boating safety rules has already promoted rigorous debate over the mandatory wearing of lifejackets introduced in other states.
“But if you are in a cabin cruiser, why should we want you to wear one?” Department of Transport acting general manager of marine safety Chris Mather said. “We understand that.”
WA’s 1958 laws were last reviewed in 1994 and new watersports such as kitesurfing, stand-up paddle boards (SUP), jetskis and cheap kayaks have become popular since then.
Mr Mather said the review was “just asking” whether lifejackets should be mandatory, after kayakers drowned in the Mid-West and South West, and dinghy fishermen drowned near Rockingham recently.
The department wanted to know when it should be a rule, such as a dinghy fisherman alone, seniors, at night and high winds.
Technology now allows for light, cheaper personal floatation devices (PFDs) worn around the neck that either inflate with a toggle or activate automatically, while new materials allow small, jacket-style pfds.