Centre for Maritime Safety


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65 Plus

Take extra care as you get older. Always wear a lifejacket and be careful getting in and out of dinghies and tenders.

On the water 65Plus brochure cover

Boaters over the age of 65 are more vulnerable to incidents due to changes in health and mobility and their ability to react quickly to sudden hazards.

For a great day out on the water, always wear a lifejacket, know your limits, avoid going out by yourself and buddy up with friends and family.

If you are concerned about your ability to react quickly in an emergency, consider using an auto-inflatable, or a foam lifejacket. Wearing a lifejacket significantly increases your safety and chances of survival if you end up in the water.

As we age, we experience changes to our health. You’re encouraged to visit your medical practitioner regularly as they can provide advice to help you manage your health so you stay safe and enjoy being out on the water.

Follow the rules for safe and responsible boating on NSW waterways with the Boating Handbook.

Tips for staying safe:

Your boat and equipment

  • Always wear a lifejacket
  • Always check the weather before and during your time out on the water
  • Ensure you boat is suitable for your ability and the conditions
  • Customise your boat to your needs – better equipment, non-skid surfaces, more hand holds
  • Getting back on board a vessel can be harder than you think – consider installing a good boarding ladder
  • Use a checklist to keep track of important routines.

Before you head out

  • Tell someone where you are going and your estimated time of return
  • Avoid operating a vessel if you feel unwell
  • Boat with a buddy whenever you can
  • Monitor your sight and hearing, and before you head out, consider ways to help you keep a proper lookout in all conditions
  • Know your vessel and make sure you are familiar with all your vessels controls, including engine, helm, lights and anchoring.

While you are out on the water

  • Always operate at a safe speed, and consider your vessel and your ability – especially at times of reduced visibility or increased traffic
  • Watch out for signs of fatigue, and stay well rested – share the helm as fatigue affects everyone
  • Watch your balance – and take extra care when using a tender, transferring to or from your boat or when moving about on board
  • Pulling up the anchor can be hard work. Consider an electric windlass or GPS enabled position-holding electric motor.

More information