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Media Release

For immediate release 31 August 2012

Safety regulator warns kayakers to put safety first

The recent rescue of a capsized kayaker in Port Phillip Bay is a timely reminder to recreational boaters to be well prepared, equipped and suitably clothed before embarking on their trip. Peter Corcoran, Director of Maritime Safety at Transport Safety Victoria (TSV), is urging kayakers to adopt a safety first approach and take more care out on the water. Four kayakers died on Victorian waterways in 2011-12. On 10 July 2011, a male canoeist drowned in Lake Hume and a male kayaker in Lake Hindmarsh. On 29 November 2011, two male kayakers drowned in the Seaford area of Port Phillip Bay. Two incidents involving kayakers have already been reported in the first two months of 2012-13. Kayaks can be unstable and capsizing is always a risk, Mr Corcoran said. In the colder months, the temperature in Victorian waters can fall below 10 degrees Celsius. Hypothermia can occur after prolonged exposure to cold but the effects of cold water immersion or cold shock can have an immediate impact when the person enters the water. My message to kayakers is simple, Mr Corcoran emphasised. Before you go out on the water, ensure that you wear a wetsuit, or a specialised waterproof jacket, and a personal flotation device. You should also check the weather conditions for the entire time you plan to be out on the water, let someone know where you are going and when you plan to return. It is critical to have the right equipment with you to raise the alarm in the event of an emergency. Carrying a mobile phone in a waterproof container is an absolute must. If you are heading out into coastal waters, we strongly advise kayakers to have an emergency position indicating radio beacon which can pinpoint your location in an emergency, Mr Corcoran said. The Marine Safety Act 2010 (Vic) sets out new safety requirements for all boaters including kayakers which are reflected in TSVs new Victorian Recreational Boating Safety Handbook. The handbook can be downloaded from the TSV website (www.transportsafety.vic.gov.au). Printed versions of the handbook are available for collection from VicRoads customer service centres. Alternatively, they can be ordered directly from TSV by emailing information@transportsafety.vic.gov.au or phoning 1800 223 022.

For further information, please contact Eugene Dolgikh on (03) 9655 6073, M. 0418 242 821 or by email at eugene.dolgikh@transportsafety.vic.gov.au