Boaties warned on child safety

Taylar AmoniniNorth West Telegraph
Email Taylar Amonini
Alannah MacTiernan and Rod Marton, Manager of Marine Education give a practical demonstration of boat safety.
Camera IconAlannah MacTiernan and Rod Marton, Manager of Marine Education give a practical demonstration of boat safety. Credit: WA News

Pilbara boat owners have been officially warned: children must be supervised to skipper a vessel.

After some serious breaches of Recreational Skipper’s Ticket laws, the Department of Transport has reminded boat owners of age requirements and safety equipment needed on board.

Senior regional officer Lance Whitney said the reminder followed two recent incidents off Karratha in which up to eight children under 16 were operating vessels found to be deficient in safety gear.

“One of the vessels had five people under 16 years 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and not enough lifejackets and no flares, while the other was operating near Regnard Island without flares and had an out-of-date EPIRB,” he said.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.”

Mr Whitney said it was the responsibility of all boat owners to ensure their vessels were equipped with the appropriate gear and those operating it were endorsed to do so.

According to the Department of Transport, children under the age of 10 may not operate a vessel, children between 10 and 14 may do so under the direct supervision of an adult with a Recreational Skipper’s Ticket, and children between the ages of 14 and 16 with an RST may operate a vessel only during daylight hours and at speeds of under eight knots.

“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 on boating laws visit transport.wa.gov. au/imarine.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails