A message from the Department of Transport WA:
Boat owners in the Pilbara region have been reminded of the age requirements for skippering a vessel and the need to ensure the required safety equipment is on board.
Department of Transport (DoT) Senior Regional Officer Lance Whitney said the reminder followed two recent incidents off Karratha where up to eight children under the age of 16 were operating vessels found to be deficient in safety gear.
“One of the vessels had five people under 16 year on board and not enough lifejackets and no flares, while the other was operating near Regnard Island without flares and had an out of date EPIRB,” Mr Whitney said.
“On both occasions Department of Fisheries officers safely returned the vessel to shore but the consequences of these actions could have been tragic if conditions had not been as favourable on the day.”
Children between 14 and 16 years with a Recreational Skipper’s Ticket (RST) can only operate a vessel during day light and at a speed of less than 8 knots. Children less than 10 years of age could not operate a vessel. However, those between 10 and 14 could do so under the direct supervision of an adult with an RST.
Mr Whitney said it was the responsibility of all boat owners to ensure their vessel was equipped with the appropriate safety gear and those operating it were endorsed to do so.
“Boat owners and parents need to remember the ocean is a dangerous environment where children need to be supervised and the appropriate safety gear needs to be on hand,” Mr Whitney said.
For more information about safe boating visit www.transport.wa.gov.au/imarine