South coast waterways were the focus of a marine police blitz at the weekend as part of the state-wide Operation Riptide.
Operation Riptide is a highly-visible and mobile policing strategy targeting vessels and personal watercraft (PWC) compliance, and safety across waterways state-wide throughout summer.
Marine Area Command officers, with assistance from the Southern Region Enforcement Squad, local police districts, NSW Department of Primary Industries and the NSW Roads and Maritime Services, conducted patrols from Friday 13 December until Sunday 15 December 2019, targeting every coastal waterway between Stanwell Park and Eden.
Throughout the operation six boating infringements notices and 18 formal warnings were issued.
A 29-year-old man was charged with mid-range PCA at a boat ramp in Sussex Inlet and will face court at a later date.
Five jet skis were deployed during the weekend’s operation, monitoring waterways including Lake Illawarra, Ulladulla, Jervis Bay and other offshore locations.
In total, more than 150 vessels and 50 PWC were stopped for compliance checks as well as random breath and drug tests.
Marine Area Command Detective Acting Inspector Christine McDonald said the operation focused on education just as much as enforcement.
“We’re not out there to be the party police and ruin anyone’s day, we are there to ensure that all boat and PWC users are acting in the safest manner and enjoying the beautiful waterways that NSW has to offer,” Acting Inspector McDonald said.
“We will continue to make sure that people comply with boating and PWC rules and regulations. If you are unsure of the rules and regulations on the water, our advice is simple: don’t go out before you know them.
“We want this summer to be fun, but also a safe one because unfortunately, we know all too well how quickly an incident on the water can turn tragic.”
Acting Inspector McDonald said safe distances and driver behaviour will continue to be a focus for police across the summer period.
“We know all too well how quickly a PWC can go from zero to 100, so it’s really important that riders are aware of their surroundings and comply with the rules; you must not be within 30m of any other vessel including another PWC, and you must not be within 60m from people in the water,” Acting Inspector McDonald said.
“If you are caught riding a PWC in an irregular manner or failing to comply with speed restrictions signs, you will be fined. And if you are from out of town, the same rules apply.”
The Marine Area Command will be conducting Operation Riptide across the state over the coming months.
More information about water safety in NSW is available at www.watersafety.nsw.gov.au.
Anyone with information about incidents on NSW waterways is urged to contact Crime Stoppers: 1800 333 000 or https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au. Information is treated in strict confidence.