Safety scrutiny Boating safety officers from Roads and Maritime Services will continue to be conspicuous following last weekend's zero-tolerance lifejacket campaign, dubbed Operation Ramp Check. The officers subjected hundreds of boaters to safety and equipment checks and spoke to them about boat-ramp etiquette to avoid the dreaded ramp rage come summer. Their key message is that lifejackets must be in good condition and either worn or available (depending on circumstances in accordance with the laws), easily accessible and the right size for each person on board. There will be increased scrutiny of safety gear until October 11.
New folding boat Makers of the Australian-designed flat-pack Quickboat claim it is the most advanced, safest and easiest-to-use folding boat ever conceived. Packing down into two separate bags measuring 3.6m x 0.7m x 0.13m and weighing 36kg, and 1.5m x 1.2m x .08m and 18kg, the Quickboat easily fits on the roof rack. Assembly time is said to be just 60 seconds. On the water, the 3.7m-long boat will comfortably fit four adults and travel safely at more than 20 knots with 9.9hp outboard. It costs $4375 from the Quickboat's website. See quickboats.com.
Sea-Doo for $6999 Canadian-based Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) has changed the watercraft game with the release of the Spark, a new ride-on bike costing $6999 for a two-seater, $7999 with an engine upgrade and $8869 for a three-seat model. The Exoskel body, which is made from a lightweight durable Polytec, is said to be recyclable. The dry weights of the individual units ranges from 185-191kg, making the Spark the lightest watercraft around.