Boaties are being urged to put safety at the bow ahead of a busy Christmas and New Year on the water.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said there had already been an spike in maritime fatalities for the year and the summer boating season promised to be busier than ever.
“Already this year we have lost 18 lives, which is triple the number of fatalities (six) for the previous year,” Mr Bailey said.
Maritime Safety Queensland will be out on the water wherever holiday boating is taking place to educate boaties and, where necessary, enforce the rules.
“A newly formed Marine Enforcement Team will spearhead the safety push supported by Queensland Water Police and Boating and Fisheries Officers.
“With a long, hot summer approaching, Queensland’s world-class waterways will be irresistible.
“We will see boaties flocking to the coast to celebrate the season and use the huge amount of new boating infrastructure.
“Take your time when boating, it is about the journey as much as the destination.
“Check you’re carrying required safety equipment and that it’s up-to-date and properly serviced.
“Ensure there’s a lifejacket on board for everyone, and they all know where they are and how to use them.”
Maritime Safety Queensland general manager Angus Mitchell said skippers needed to keep focused on their responsibility to their crews and to others on the water.
“Put simply they should remember the three Ps, plan and prepare, then proceed,” Mr Mitchell said.
“Keep a proper lookout and observe speed limits.
“If you are going any distance off shore, check whether you are required to carry an EPIRB and make sure it’s properly registered with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.
“And always let someone such as your local volunteer rescue group, know when you’re leaving, your destination and when you’re due back.
“Check the weather before you leave and keep checking while you’re on the water.”
Mr Mitchell said boaties should also be mindful at this time of year children were likely to be on board.
“They are more adventurous and less aware of risks than adults and this adds to boaties’ responsibilities,” he said.
Mr Bailey said Maritime Safety Queensland marine inspectors, Queensland Boating and Fisheries Patrols and Queensland Water Police would be on patrol.
“They’ll be on the lookout for boaties and jet ski riders who exceed the .05 alcohol limit, speed in six-knot zones or fail to keep their distance from swimmers and paddlers,” he said.
“So always keep in mind, you’re the skipper – you’re responsible.”