Human error causes fatalities

EXTREME weather events, human error, inattention and alcohol were the main factors in a spike in marine-related fatalities in 2009, according to new information from Transport Minister Rachel Nolan.

Ms Nolan said her marine incidents report, tabled in Parliament recently, showed 14 fatal marine incidents last year resulted in 20 deaths or 8.4 fatalities for every 100,000 registered vessels in Queensland.

“The report shows one-third of fatalities were associated with extreme weather events, highlighting the need for boaties to make more informed choices about when to go out on the water.

“The consumption of alcohol and/or illegal drugs was involved in six deaths in four separate marine incidents.

“Error of judgement was a contributing factor in 10, resulting in the deaths of 16 people.

“And failure to keep a proper lookout played a role in two single-fatality accidents,” she said.

“It’s disappointing that so many of these fatal accidents were arguably foreseeable and avoidable,” she said.

“Boaties need to be aware that their actions or lack of action on the water can have devastating consequences.”

Ms Nolan said Queensland had about 5000 more recreational vessels registered in 2009, bringing the total to more than 233,000.

“Of the 768 marine incidents reported in Queensland, one in 20 was either a fatal of serious injury incident. There are more recreational vessels than ever on the water in Queensland and people need to take more care,” Ms Nolan said.

“Boat operators and their passengers need to understand they are responsible for their actions and if they do the wrong thing, there can be a terrible price to pay.

“With boating and other water activities such a part of Queensland’s culture, it’s important that everyone take the necessary precautions to ensure a safe trip and importantly a safe return.”

Gympie Times

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