Free Marine Newsletter

1 August 2011

Shipmate News 01 August 2011

Lets get the safety message out, but let's do it right

I’m just back from the Sydney International Boat Show and the only way to describe the show is wow! Over 200 boats, power and sail on the water, and then another 700 plus boats inside the halls. Then there was the equipment on display over the 28,000 square metres of hall space, just amazing! 

A bit early yet to say if it was a success for exhibitors, but I can safely say that from visitors, or boat buyers point of view, it was sensational. Some of the deals on offer from boat builders and equipment suppliers were/are, very tempting and, if you’re in the market for a new boat or any sort of marine equipment I would strongly suggest now is the time to buy.

Now just to touch on the subject of safety out on the water. While in Sydney I went to a forum run by NSW Maritime on the subject of boating safety. Part of the discussion included mandatory wearing of lifejackets as per the law in Victoria and Tasmania (vessels under 4.8 metres in Vic and 6 metres in Tas). At present wearing of lifejackets (by adults) is not compulsory in NSW except at times of heightened risk and they have an excellent campaign titled “You’re the Skipper – You’re responsible” which to me makes a lot of sense. In my view that’s where our focus should be, on education and, especially educating Skippers about heightened risk and equipping them to be able to identify those risks and be able to brief passengers and crew.

Which brings me to a media release (included in this edition) from Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) indicating that they’re introducing a new Waterway Compliance Team to “engage with recreational and commercial boaters, waterway managers and key stakeholders to increase knowledge, awareness and compliance with relevant marine safety laws”. A good thing I say, as long as that means education and it’s not bureaucrat-speak for more rules and regulations or targeting recreational boaters.

At times it seems to me that boating is unfairly targeted in the name of safety and there is a danger that recreational boating will gain a reputation amongst families as being unsafe and that’s not good for the industry. Neither is it helpful when media releases quote statistics like the six deaths in Victoria last year and of the six, one related to kite boarding, one to canoeing and one kayaking. All water sports granted, and all tragedies of course, but hardly boating in the context that appears to be the justification for putting recreational boating under the spotlight in a negative way.

And what about the 190 boating related incidents they quote, does that include the guy who presents at casualty with a fishhook through his thumb? I’m all for safety out on the water, as are the vast majority of boaters and, in terms of family pastimes, recreational boating is most generally pleasant and very safe. I think it would be far better if we concentrated on education and didn’t get too bogged down on negative statistics. Let’s start concentrating on highlighting the positives, after all, as they say, ‘there are lies, damn lies, and then there’s statistics’.

Now on a lighter note, we’ve commenced preparation of the 2012 edition of Shipmate Marine Directory - The 136 page pocket wonder dubbed “the boaters essential guide”. Shipmate includes an A-Z listing of marine trades and services, yacht clubs, marinas, marine organisations, tide tables and more. 

10,000 copies will again be distributed and advertising is now open. If you want to get your message out to boaters you won’t find better value than Shipmate. It’s highly targeted and it works! As always, advertising space is limited so be quick, contact us on Ph: 03 9690 5435 or email us as or visit for more details.

Cheers, see you out on the water

John Zammit

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