Maritime Safety is surveying life jacket wearing to lessen the number of lives lost in the water

Marine Rescue team members at Coffs Harbour; Paul McLeod, Ken McNeil and Steve Aspey.


THE community is invited to have its say on two options to simplify and expand life jacket wearing requirements on NSW waterways, as part of the draft Maritime Safety Plan 2026.

Minister for Transport and Roads Andrew Constance said more than seven out of ten people presumed drowned in recreational boating incidents, over the ten years to 2019–20, were not wearing a life jacket.

In the Coffs Harbour region at least ten lives were lost in the same period from boating accidents, persons swept out of flooding creeks or rock fishing, and none were wearing life jackets, Marine Rescue Coffs Harbour told News Of The Area.

“Life jackets are without a doubt the most important piece of safety equipment for survival in boating incidents where people are forced into the water,” Mr Constance added.

“We want to hear from NSW boaters on the two new lifejacket options that have been developed, because we need to make the law easier for people to understand and save more lives on our waterways.

Marine Rescue Coffs Harbour Unit Commander Graeme King said, “Marine Rescue NSW are reluctant to go with either option at this stage but certainly we will be encouraging the boating community to take part in the survey.

“Marine Rescue Coffs Harbour encourages the boating public to wear life jackets all the time as you do not always know when a freak wave will capsize your boat when fishing near a bombora.

“The Coffs regional waters are relatively warm so if you are wearing a life jacket your chances of survival are greatly enhanced.”

Under both life jacket wearing options, children under the age of twelve will be required to wear a lifejacket at all times on a vessel less than six metres in enclosed and open waters, and in the open area of a vessel greater than six metres that is underway in enclosed and open waters.

To have your say on the draft Maritime Safety Plan 2026 and the proposed lifejacket reform options, visit by 24 September.




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