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Boaters in drowning stats

Boaters in drowning stats

The Royal Life Saving Society's annual drowning report for the period July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013 makes sad reading. Some 20 per cent of the 291 drownings (up 5 per cent on last year) were a result of using a boat or other watercraft. Tellingly, 82 per cent of all drownings were male and 39 per cent were people aged 55 years and over. Boating/watercraft accidents accounted for more than half of drowning deaths in ocean/harbour locations (58 per cent) and were the leading cause on inland waterways (20 per cent). The report illustrated the risks for male baby-boomers. "Those of us in this age group need to remember we're not 20 years old any more and to take our health and level of fitness into account when we're heading out," said Marine Rescue NSW Commissioner Stacey Tannos.

Operation Piccolo

Roads and Maritime Services is targeting operators of small powerboats in a statewide boating safety campaign that began last weekend. "In the 12 months to July this year there were 45 incidents involving powered vessels less than six-metres long," Roads and Maritime director of maritime Michael Wright said. The incidents resulted in nine fatalities, 12 serious injuries and 10 minor injuries. Eight of the nine people who lost their lives in NSW small-boating incidents in the past year were not wearing a lifejacket. "This boating season a zero tolerance policy applies to lifejacket breaches," said Mr Wright. Operation Piccolo concludes on Sunday.

Balmain regatta

The Balmain Regatta, one of Sydney's oldest sporting events, is on next Sunday. Now run by the Balmain Sailing Club, the regatta is a celebration of sailing, Balmain and Sydney's maritime heritage. Events include classic skiff, dinghy and yacht races, and the Watermans Race, while crews from Balmain's local pubs battle it out. Entry is open to anyone with a yacht or dinghy who would like to race.

Robalo at Port Hacking

Matt Short, the older brother of the late Andrew Short of Andrew Short Marine fame, has taken on a Robalo dealership from his Yowie Bay marina on Port Hacking. Matt is no stranger to boats. Nor is his daughter and business sidekick Caitlin, who is studying for her Master Class 5 skippers ticket, and has been involved with offshore fishing, dinghy and ocean racing. More at

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