Be prepared and be sea safe, that’s the message for boaters to ensure they have all essential safety equipment on board as they head out on NSW waterways.

Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said a state wide compliance operation this October long weekend aims to ensure the surge of boating holiday makers are putting safety first.

“Boating is a popular pastime in NSW, with more than half a million people holding a licence to operate a power craft and 18 per cent of households owning a recreational vessel,” Mrs Pavey said.

Safety equipment should be carefully inspected, particularly pre-wear checks of lifejackets to make sure they are in good working condition and inflation mechanisms are working. Items like flares, distress beacons and fire extinguishers should be replaced if they have passed their expiry date.

“Everyone on board needs to know where the safety equipment is located on a boat and also how to use it.

The state of the vessel or equipment is responsible for more than 10 per cent of the known causes of fatal boating incidents.

“Now is also the time to pay attention to the condition of boat trailers, with appropriate maintenance or service. Boats kept on moorings should have their moorings serviced at least once a year or more frequently depending on specific mooring conditions,” Mrs Pavey said.

Boaters should ensure up-to-date charts and local boating maps are on board for each and every new waterway being explored, and ensure boating navigation lights are in working order regardless of whether a boat trip is only planned for the day time.

For a complete list of the safety equipment that must be carried on your boat, check your copy of the Boating Handbook or visit rms.nsw.gov.au/maritime