Boating retailer calls for refresh of lifejacket safety rules

LIFESAVER: Managing director of John Crawford Marine Matthew Hodson said all passengers of boats should be trained in accessing lifejackets.

LIFESAVER: Managing director of John Crawford Marine Matthew Hodson said all passengers of boats should be trained in accessing lifejackets.

According to Maritime Safety Queensland, one in five Queensland boats lacks proper lifejackets, a major boating retailer has called for better awareness about water safety.

MSQ data collected over the school holidays found 20 per cent of boats inspected over the summer either did not have properly working lifejackets on board, did not have enough for all passengers or did not have the right lifejackets for children.

John Crawford Marine managing director Matthew Hodson said lifejackets were the first point of call for safety in the rough seas of Moreton Bay.

"Moreton Bay can throw a variety of hazards to boaties, from shallow waters too choppy waters, and people need to be educated on safe boating," he said

"Lifejackets increase the rate of survival because they save people from drowning when they have an incident."

Of the 259 people who have drowned after boating incidents in Queensland between 1992 and 2020, only 15 were known to be wearing life jackets.

Mr Hodson said many parents got caught up in the excitement of boating and fell short on their knowledge of safety.

"The safety message is confronting, and people don't like to think about it," he said.

"But in the event of an emergency, when emotions and adrenaline are pumping, you can lose the ability to think logically and that's how tragedy can strike."

He said with many families taking up boating through the COVID pandemic, it was more important than ever for boats to be equipped with lifejackets for children.

"Things can happen very quickly, and people need to train their kids on where their lifejackets are and how to put one on by themselves," Mr Hosdon said.

"If they can't do that, they should always be wearing one when the boat is moving.

"We are seeing a massive influx of families who have never owned a boat before, so we are taking them down to the water, giving them orientations and doing a life jacket drill to make sure they are prepared."

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said having lifejackets on boats for children was a must.

"Lifejackets are the seatbelts of the sea, and if they're not on, they can't save you," he said.

"I find it really disturbing that some boaties aren't exercising every precaution when it comes to their children, who are most vulnerable when things go wrong," he said.

Mr Hodson said MSQ's lifejacket rules had been improved and simplified, and people should visit their local boating store or the MSQ website to find out what is right for them.

"Responsible boating is good boating and parents should have the aptitude to talk about these things to their kids and explain the safety to them," he said.

"Lifejackets are not one size fits all, so it's really important to make sure that everyone on the boat has the right one."