Worst season ever prompts urgent plea from lifesavers for people to wear lifejackets when boating

Bermagui SLSC callout on May 9
Bermagui SLSC callout on May 9

A record number of boating fatalities and drownings has Surf Life Saving NSW pleading with people to always wear a lifejacket when boating.

Starting with five coastal drownings in five days chief executive Steven Pearce said 2020/21 was already the worst season on record.

With nine fatalities in just six months it was more than double the 10-year average.

"Over the past two years we have seen a significant increase in boating-related fatalities in NSW which is very concerning," Mr Pearce said.

"Tragically, many of the people who drowned recently were not wearing a lifejacket, meaning their deaths may have been prevented if they were wearing one".

"Along with Marine Rescue, we are pleading with boat owners to take more care of themselves and their passengers and ensure that everyone has access to an approved, properly fitting lifejacket.

"We strongly recommend always wearing one when boating."

Surf Life Saving NSW has responded to the following fatal boating incidents since January 1, 2020:

  • 10 March - Narooma Bar (two fatalities)
  • 16 April - Port Kembla (one fatality)
  • 6 June - Burrill Beach (one fatality)
  • 6 June - Bulli (two fatalities)
  • 5 July - La Perouse, Cape Banks (three fatalities).

And in the 2019/20 season there were 11 fatalities which is more than two-and-a-half times the 10-year average of 4.1 per season.

This story Worst season ever prompts urgent plea for people to wear lifejackets when boating first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.