Realistic Lifejacket Reforms
Realistic Lifejacket Reforms
The new rules are much needed in NSW, convoluted confusing rules creates confusion and reduces the effectiveness and awareness of when you need to wear a lifejacket https://maritimemanagement.transport.nsw.gov.au/lifejackets/lifejacket-law/index.html . However the latest rules are lacking details, create confusion and are also unrealistic. This petition is to request NSW Maritime to re-evaluate their proposals so that they are more realistic, actually cover normal use cases and likely to be followed.
Even if the changes to the rules do not apply or affect you from previous rules, please read and consider signing this petition if you agree with the arguments made and the poor proposal being presented. NSW Maritime have good relations with the boating community, however proposals like this following statements like "Following an extensive evaluation and analysis process to evaluate the safety and stakeholder impacts of reform, two options have been developed for public consultation" threaten this relationship and trust. Have your say through the official feedback at https://www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/maritime-safety/survey_tools/complete-a-survey1
There are 2 rule changes proposed (Fact Sheet https://www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/maritime-safety , https://www.haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au/71234/widgets/349039/documents/212909 ):
'Option A’ would require mandatory wearing of lifejackets by adults:
• On vessels less than 6m when underway; and
• At all times for vessels less than 6m when boating alone, on alpine waters or between sunset and sunrise (heightened risk circumstances)
'Option B’ will require mandatory wearing of lifejackets by adults:
• On vessels less than 6m in enclosed waters when underway; and
• On all vessels in open waters in the open area of the vessel when underway; and
• At all times when boating alone, on alpine waters or between sunset and sunrise
(heightened risk circumstances).
Under both options, children under 12 years of age will be required to wear a lifejacket:
• At all times in a vessel less than 6m in enclosed and open waters; and
• In the open area of a vessel greater than 6m that is underway in enclosed and open waters
There are collective issues with both of these, but option B is over restrictive and likely to cause lots of friction.
Neither of these options addresses the issue of tenders, boats used to tender many people to their boats on swing moorings. People’s lifejackets will be on their boats (they should never leave the boat, that is asking for them to be forgotten!). An exception needs to be clearly stated for this case, aka use something similar to the modified safety equipment guide in the handbook. Aka If for the purpose of tendering and the boat is longer than 3m and within 200m of any shore and not travelling more than 1nm from its usual pickup/drop off location, lifejackets are not required to be worn.
The 2nd issue with both of these options is the definition of "boating". Does this mean when working on a boat, you have to wear a lifejacket? A tender being worked on by a mechanic on a wharf will not be capable of wearing a lifejacket while trying to do his job. It is suggested some common sense is applied to this rule, and that it is changed so that if the boat is on a swing mooring or fastened to a Marina/berth a lifejacket is not required. (Also re-highlighting that you should not and in some cases is illegal to pickup a swing mooring or berth you do not have permission to use wouldn't go astray).
The 3rd issue is neither of these options specify or highlight at the skippers discretion nor strongly state heightened risk, they only indicate sunset-sunrise is a heightened risk. It is suggested to add a requirement that specifically address this. Aka At the discretion of the skipper and/or heightened risk (you can then list what constitutes heightened risk scenarios, including a heightened risk is deemed anything where the majority of boaters would classify as a heightened risk(you can’t cover every scenario)).
The 4th issue is the statement regarding under 12 years of age. The rules state the rules for adults, legally defined as 18 and above, and under 12. 12 to 17 year old’s do not come under any rules in these statements.
The last issue is with option B point 2. It is not likely a reasonable request, such rules can have negative impacts to the yacht racing communities who conduct race's just outside the heads. It also does not make sense for large cruisers out in calm conditions on a sunny day to force everyone to wear a lifejacket. This rule would likely create a lot of friction not only between the NSW Maritime and boaters, but between boaters and even crew. Enforcing this would result in mass people ignoring that rule and consequently the other rules, completely undermining what you are trying to achieve. This rule needs to be changed to follow more inline with say World Sailing Rules, if it is ok for sailors who go out in conditions others are running from it is more than suitable and tested as acceptable. Aka When in open waters on a vessel greater than 6m, a lifejacket is to be worn when the TWS is above 25 knots, when asked by the skipper or when alone on deck or when visibility is less than 1 nautical mile.
In summary it appears these rules might have been rushed and possibly created without active boating knowledge or the history and issues/corrections that occurred with the previous set of rules. Rather than the proposed two options, the following rules are proposed as a new starting point for re-consultation, these suggestions are not absolute, nor perfect, but are a better starting point that covers more common grounds:
Mandatory wearing of lifejackets:
• (a) On any vessel:
- When the skipper requests; or
- When the TWS is above 25 knots; or
- When visibility is less than 1 nautical mile; or
- Any situation with a heighted risk
• (b) In addition, on vessels of 6m or more:
- When in open waters and boating alone (except where the vessel is secured on a swing mooring or berth); or
- For children under 12 years of age in the open area of a vessel underway
• (c) In addition, on vessels less than 6m when:
- Underway, (except when tendering*); or
- Boating alone (except where the vessel is secured on a swing mooring or berth); or
- On alpine waters; or
- Between sunset and sunrise
* Tendering: Tendering passengers to and from boats and the tender boat is longer than 3m and within 200m of any shore and not travelling more than 1nm from its usual pickup/drop off location.