NSW Government calls for public comment on Murray River Safety Review

The boating community and other interested parties are invited to comment on a range of options to improve safety on the Murray River.
Minister for Ports and Waterways, Paul McLeay said following a number of serious boating accidents NSW Maritime and Marine Safety Victoria had been reviewing safety on the Murray River Lakes Hume and Mulwala.  
“Since 1992 there have been 287 incidents, resulting in 28 deaths and 115 serious injuries in the area. From December last year to February 13 this year there were four fatalities and seven serious incidents. This is simply too much,” Mr McLeay said.  
“80 per cent of boating incidents involved Victorian registered vessels and that is why it is vital to be working with Marine Safety Victoria on this safety initiative.
“As part of the review, NSW Maritime recently conducted meetings with stakeholder groups, such as councils, local police, boating clubs, fishing groups, tourism bodies, passive craft users, water sports clubs and commercial operators.
Country Labor’s Tony Catanzariti said the meetings were held at Albury/Mulwala, Moama and Mildura/Buronga in April.
“A range of options were put forward including introducing or lowering speed limits, controls on towing and additional boating safety officers.”
“We’d like everyone who spends time on the Murray River and the associated lakes to read the discussion paper and have their say to help improve boating safety on this increasingly popular waterway,” Mr Catanzariti said.
Options detailed in the discussion paper for public consultation is available from the NSW Maritime web site or its Service Centres.
Mr McLeay said feedback from the public consultation will be considered by the Recreational Vessels Advisory Group and the Maritime Ministerial Advisory Committee.
“Both of these groups include representatives from a wide range of boating interest groups, but it’s important that the community has their input – which is why we’re calling for submissions,” Mr McLeay said.
Options outlined in the discussion paper included:  

• Introducing speed limits and zoning of areas of waterways – including a 40 knot speed limit, lower speed limits during peak boating periods, ‘no slow towing’ zones, towing and personal watercraft only zones.
• Controls on towing activities such as ski tubes, and introducing a ‘no added weight’ rule to control wake.  
• Additional Boating Safety Officers and assistance from Maritime Safety Victoria in undertaking compliance; as well as increased regulation in relation to anti-social behaviour, lifejackets; and alcohol.
• New licensing and education measures for Victorian boaters.
• Improved safety measures to avoid vessel fires such as compulsory blowers and vents for inboard petrol engine boats.
Submissions can be provided online, via email or post:

• Online at www.maritime.nsw.gov.au  
• By email: recboating@maritime.nsw.gov.au
• Or posted to:  Murray River Review  
Recreational Boating & Regional Services Division  
Locked Bag 5100, Camperdown NSW, 1450.