Jet Ski campaign on Australia Day at Botany Bay, NSW

You're the skipper - You're responsible
Roads and Maritime Services will roll out the first of five lightning strike education campaigns targeting personal watercraft (PWC) behaviour on Australia Day around Botany Bay and the Georges River, NSW.

Maritime Services Operations Manager Botany Bay/ Port Hacking Graeme Dunlavie said actor and comedian Rob Shehadie would spearhead the ‘Take it Easy’ campaign. 'Personal watercraft, otherwise known as jet skis, are popular in and around Botany Bay,' Mr Dunlavie said.

'This campaign is about reaching out to young men who use PWC in places such as Brighton Le Sands and Revesby.

'Rob, who played Rocky from Fat Pizza for 12 years, will use humour when he gets out among the PWC riders encouraging them to observe the rules for safe and responsible boating, and to take it easy,' Mr Dunlavie said.

'Rob understands that while it is definitely good fun to head out on the water on a PWC, it is crucial for safety reasons for riders to apply care, courtesy and common sense. While the majority of PWC riders are responsible, there is a minority who either ignore or become complacent about safety. 'Rob is helping to raise safety awareness and to reach out to young men who may be tempted to take risks.'

A special licence is required to drive a PWC regardless of what speed it is driven. To obtain a PWC licence, the general boat licence test must first be passed. Riding a PWC between sunset and sunrise is prohibited, regardless of whether navigation lights are fitted.

To promote safe and responsible use of PWC, Roads and Maritime Services developed the ‘Ride Right’ safety package – including a DVD, a mobile phone pouch, a behaviour sticker to attach to all PWC, a flier, a booklet outlining safety requirements and website - aimed to promote safe and responsible use of the craft.

Mr Dunlavie said after Australia Day, another four lightning strikes education campaigns targeting PWC will take place prior to the end of the close of the official boating season at the end of the Easter long weekend. 'This education work that Rob is helping us with is not about compliance and fining people for doing the wrong thing. It is more about educating people on PWC so everyone on the water – including other boaters and swimmers – can share the waterways safely,' Mr Dunlavie said.

'When riding a PWC, remember to:
keep a proper look out;
keep to a safe speed; slow down to under 10 knots when near other vessels, the shore or people;
carry your PWC licence;
observe local navigation restrictions; and always wear a lifejacket.

Roads and Maritime Services is collaborating with Cultural Partners Australia, who specialise in working with culturally diverse communities, in this safety education campaign.

For more on using a PWC safety see: http://www.maritime.nsw.gov.au/rec_boating/pwc.html

For Rob Shehadie’s PWC safety tips go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9LEcqUw-YG8