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Families

Watercraft Safety

Always wear a lifejacket when on the water

Watercraft SafetyEvery year, approximately 30 people drown in Australia while using watercraft. The most common fatalities occur with small aluminium boats (tinnies), jet skis, kayaks, sailing boats and inflatable dinghies. The ocean is the most common location for watercraft related drowning deaths, followed by rivers and beaches.

Many of the drowning deaths can be attributed to people not wearing Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs). Alcohol, which is a contributing factor in at least 20 per cent of all adult drowning deaths, is also often involved in watercraft related deaths as are people being unprepared to cope with changing weather or sea conditions, collisions, or having a watercraft that is not seaworthy.

Everyone on the water needs to wear a PFD, also known as a lifejacket or buoyancy vest. PFDs are classified according to the wearer’s needs and the level of protection they offer and should be properly fitted for wearers of all ages.

The captain of the craft has an overall responsibility for the safety of his or her passengers, and must ensure that there are sufficient PFDs for all people onboard. However, it is also the responsibility of each individual to ensure their own safety by wearing a PFD, avoiding alcohol, refraining from risky behaviour, and complying with the captain’s requests.

Click here to download a print friendly version of the Watercraft Safety Fact Sheet