A grim start to 2024 - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views

Harvey Shore tows a jet ski back to port. Photo by James Ashworth. 


Coast Guard volunteers in Redlands and Moreton Bay have reported a busy – and tragic – start to the year.

Between Boxing Day and New Year’s Day, four people died in local waters.

There haven’t been so many deaths in one month since November 2013, when three people died in local waters. In the same year, ten people drowned in Queensland. Records indicate none of them were wearing life jackets.

As a result of those deaths, Queensland law now requires all boats to carry life jackets for all passengers and crew. In addition, everyone must wear a life jacket when crossing a coastal bar in an open boat less than 4.8m in length, and children under 12 in a moving, open boat less than 4.8m in length must wear a life jacket at all times. So must everyone aboard a jet ski.

The Coast Guard urges everyone to wear a life jacket while out boating. It’s a little uncomfortable, but tragedy strikes without warning, and it’s difficult putting on a life jacket once you’re in the water.

Coast Guard also recommends boat owners join Coast Guard’s Marine Assist breakdown service. This provides free assistance and towing back to port in the event of trouble at sea.

“Boat owners never think they’ll break down,” said Coast Guard skipper John Lucchi. “But over 40 recreational vessels called us for help since the start of this year. A tow back to port can be expensive. But with Marine Assist membership, it’s free. That’s not only a safety matter, it’s also peace of mind.”

To join the Coast Guard’s Marine Assist program, simply visit your local Coast Guard base on any weekend.

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