Centre for Maritime Safety


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Latest 2019 report highlights trends in NSW boating fatalities and incidents

There has been a long-term downward trend in boating-related fatalities in NSW, with 11 fatalities recorded in 2018-19. The report shows a significant decline in the rate of drowning fatalities associated with recreational vessel activity over the last couple of decades.  

As at 30 June 2019,NSW remained on track to achieve the target of a 30 per cent reduction in both total boating fatalities and total boating serious injuries by 2020–21, as outlined in Transport for NSW’s Maritime Safety Plan 2017–2021.  However, preliminary 2019-20 data paints a different picture with 25 boating-related fatalities recorded (preliminary result as at 30 June 2020). 

The reduction in trauma on NSW waterways can be attributed to a variety of measures from improved standards in vessel design and equipment, through to compliance and education programs such as the integrated ‘Wear a Lifejacket’ campaign. Lifejacket wear rates in NSW have increased considerably, and this is reflected in the reduction in the rate of recreational boating fatalities due to drowning.  

The report also highlights the over-representation of older boaters, particularly males aged 70 and over, in boating-related trauma. The Centre for Maritime Safety continues to collate data and evidence in relation to the issue of older boaters to inform future strategies and programs. Other findings include:  

  • A downward trend in incidents related to poor weather conditions 
  • A downward trend in overall rate of incidents involving PWC; and  
  • A downward trend in incidents related to cold water.  

The Boating Trauma and Compliance in NSW 2018-19 report focuses on trends in priority maritime safety issues and provides an updated profile of trauma, incidents and customer feedback associated with each of them.  

The report can be viewed in fullhere. 

Questions or comments about the report? Contact us.