Aussie Clampdown

Aussie Clampdown

IBI News: The deaths of six people in a boating accident last month has
prompted Australia’s New South Wales government to propose a dramatic
tightening of boating safety regulations in that state. The state minister
proposing the legislation said that it would ensure that "skippers
put safety first."

"This is the biggest overhaul of marine safety rules
and practices in a decade,” said Joe Tripoldi, Minister for Ports and
Waterways, in a statement.

NSW boaters were previously required to pass a written
test to gain a license. But they will now have to show practical boat-handling
skills. The legislation will also increase patrols in Sydney Harbour and
other waterways in the state. Boaters will also face jail terms or fines
for overloading vessels.

The legislation will also allow police to suspend boating
licenses and registrations for those breaking the law. "This includes
vessels operating at night with insufficient lighting,” said Tripoldi.

The six fatalities on May 1, considered the worst boating
accident in recent history, renewed calls for tighter regulations of licenses
on Sydney Harbour, where 11 people have died in boating accidents in the
last 14 months. Tripoldi said the May 1 accident did not prompt the proposed
changes, but it did give them more urgency.