Test to boost boat safety

LIKE learner drivers, new boaties will soon have to pass a practical test before they can obtain a recreational boat licence.

Under the current structure, NSW residents must attend a boating safety course and pass a theory exam to get a boating licence.

But from June 1 wannabe skippers will also have to take three trips on the water under the guidance of an experienced skipper and complete a log book.

The log book includes a check list to be completed by the skipper and trainee, requiring both to understand boating safety procedures.

Wooli Volunteer Marine Rescue (VMR) training officer Richard Taffs said the new logbook system should improve safety knowledge for everyone.

“From our experience, even experienced boat operators are not always familiar with the accepted practices of good seamanship that are required to guide an applicant through the logbook process,” Mr Taffs said.

So the VMR is planning to offer guidance and support to skippers and trainees when the logbook comes into play in June.

In the lead-up to the changeover, Mr Taffs said they had experienced a rush of people attending the VMR boating safety courses, possibly to avoid the incoming practical element.

There is one final course on May 16 at Wooli, before the new system is introduced.

For more information contact Wooli VRM on 0428 562 707 or 6649 7217.

The Wooli VMR will continue to offer boating safety courses under the new system.

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