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Byron Shire
April 22, 2021

Boat collides with catamaran at Ballina

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Police have warned boat users that waterways will becoming busier during the holiday season.
Police have warned boat users that waterways will become busier during the holiday season.

A 62-year-old man driving a 3.5m aluminium tinny along Richmond River in Ballina on Saturday night was thrown from his vessel after hitting a moored catamaran, about 200m west of North Creek.

A 35-year-old man who witnessed the collision retrieved the uninjured man from the water and assisted him to his home.

Acting duty inspector Mat Johnson said officers from the Richmond Local Area Command and Marine Area Command were called and attended.

Inspector Johnson said police spoke with the 62-year-old at his home and were satisfied he was not intoxicated.

But the incident did prompt police to issue a warning to other boat users to be extra careful as the number of people using waterways increased during the warmer months.

Commander of the NSW Marine Area Command, Detective Superintendent Mark Hutchings, has encouraged all boat users to ensure boat safety practices are adhered to at all times.

‘Keeping vigilant and ensuring safety when heading out on the water is often overlooked,’ Detective Superintendent Hutchings said.

‘Extra maritime traffic is expected on NSW waters during the warmer months, as the waters tend to get a lot busier at this time.

‘Police will be out in force to ensure operators of recreational and commercial vessels are compliant with maritime laws.

‘We will be checking all skippers adhere to the speed limits, respect fellow water users, and don’t operate vessels under the influence of drugs or alcohol; just as would be expected out on the roads.’

Key tips for boating safety include:

* Make sure you have life jackets for all on board.

* Stay alert to weather conditions and constantly monitor the Bureau of Meteorology.

* Check your craft thoroughly in all respects before heading out on the water.

* Notify others – check that a responsible person knows the description of your boat, the number of passengers, where you are going, and your expected time of return or arrival.

* Be alert to possible riskier situations while boating, including at night, boating alone, crossing bars, and high-risk of capsize or swamping.

* Avoid drinking and don’t take drugs when on-board.


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