Centre for Maritime Safety


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New boating data and insights reports released by the Centre for Maritime Safety

Latest Boating Trauma and Compliance in NSW 2019 report highlights trends in boating fatalities and incidents

The latest Boating Trauma and Compliance in NSW 2019 report examines boating fatality, serious injury and incident trends for the 10-year period from 2008–09 to 2018–19. 

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, 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.  

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 full here. 

Questions or comments about the report? Contact us. 

Recreational Boating in NSW 2019 survey summary report provides in depth understanding of boater characteristics, attitudes and boating activity  

The Recreational Boating in NSW 2019 summary report sheds light on how people use and interact with NSW waterways. 2019 was the second consecutive year the survey was conducted and topics covered include:  

  • vessel ownership and storage 
  • safety knowledge, attitudes and behaviours 
  • characteristics of trips taken on NSW waterways 
  • waterways and infrastructure 
  • safety incidents  

The data from this survey helps to identify changes in the nature of recreational boating participation and activities over time.  

A snapshot of the 2019 findings indicate that:  

  • 94 per cent of recreational boaters in NSW own a vessel, while 48 per cent own two or more vessels. 
  • Powered boats (61 per cent) and paddle craft (21 per cent) are the most common vessels used on boating trips. 
  • Fishing (55 per cent) remains the most common purpose of boating trips, followed by cruising and sightseeing (24 per cent).  
  • 95 per cent of vessels carry enough lifejackets for everyone on board  
  • 96 per cent of paddle craft users self-report wearing a lifejacket all the time, which reflects a 28 per cent increase from the 2018 survey.  
  • 85 per cent of boaters check the weather before leaving home.

The results of this survey provide community-based evidence to help inform strategy, policy and education initiatives, which aim to deliver safer waterway use, greater participation and waterway access across NSW.  

The 2019 survey summary report can be viewed in full here 

The 2018 survey summary report can be viewed in full here

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