15 fatalities in 15 months: WA boat fatalities skyrocket

Boating deaths in WA are at an all-time high following three recent tragedies and 15 fatalities in the last 15 months.

Marine authorities are warning skippers not to be complacent and highlighting that in an emergency on the water 30 seconds could be all the time skippers and passengers have to grab life-saving safety equipment.

The Department of Transport (DoT) is advocating all skippers take the 30 Second Challenge to ensure they're ready for an emergency and save lives on the water this boating season.

DoT implemented the 30 Second Challenge, which tests if people can gather flares, EPIRB, make a radio call and don a lifejacket in 30 seconds, after detailed analysis of incident data showed improved accessibility to safety equipment could limit lives lost on the water.

DoT Director of Waterways Safety Chris Mather said in August and September alone there were three deaths, bringing to 15 the number of boating fatalities in WA for the past 15 months compared with only five deaths for the 15 months prior.

"Tragically over the past three financial years 26 people have died while boating in WA compared with 14 for the previous three years," Mr Mather said.

"It is strongly recommended people wear a lifejacket while boating as 26 of those 40 deaths (65 per cent) in the past six years may have been prevented if the person had been wearing a lifejacket when they entered the water.

"Skippers need to be responsible, taking time to complete the recommended voyage preparation guidelines every time they head out on to the water. Unfortunately, skippers who fail to do this put their safety and that of those on board at risk.

"Spending time this spring preparing for a safe summer of boating could save your life."

People can visit www.transport.wa.gov.au/30secondchallenge to find out how to take the challenge.

This story 15 deaths in 15 months: WA boat fatalities skyrocket first appeared on Augusta-Margaret River Mail.