Skipper for the night Acting Sergeant Craig Collings.
Skipper for the night Acting Sergeant Craig Collings. Mikayla Haupt

Police a watchful eye on the water

WITH the Christmas period well and truly upon us, police have not only ramped up patrols on the region's roads, but also local waterways.

Hervey Bay Water Police's Senior Constable Nick Swan and Acting Sergeant Craig Collings took to the Burnett River on Friday night, alongside road police Sergeant Johnathan Sitkiewicz and Constable Maddy Strofeldt, conducting patrols and stopping numerous boats.

Throughout the two-hour patrol of the Burnett, several boats were stopped where safety checks, drink and drug tests were performed and tested negative.

Sen Const Swan said with an increase in traffic on the water throughout the school holidays and Christmas period there would be more patrols, making sure they undertake as many safety and breath checks as they can.

With vessels being able to travel at various speeds on the water, Sen Const Swan said it was important to have policing done on the water to maintain safety and prevent injury.

"We had a number of fines issued tonight (Friday night),” he said.

"Two of the fines which carried a monetary penalty were in relation to navigation lights - so it's very important at night to make sure you have the correct navigation lights on as for the vessel that you're operating.

"There was also some infringement notices in relation to the marking of your vessels. You need to make sure that your vessels are clearly marked with the correct rego numbers or if they're a tender to a larger vessel, making sure you have tender to that vessel.”

He said for the general offences in relation to navigation lights safety equipments, the penalty was around $261, where as some offences regarding driving a vessel without a licence or without registration can carry a higher penalty.

On Friday night, Sen Const Swan said there was a total of five infringement notices issued to three different vessels.

Sen Const Swan stressed the important to have the right navigations lights when on the water.

"If you don't have the correct lights it makes it very difficult for people to see you depending on which angle they're approaching you from.

"Obviously no lights and somebody colliding with you can have dire consequences.”

Sen Const Swan said the main message was safety on the water throughout Christmas and New Year, being patient at the boat ramps, using common sense and following the maritime rules and regulations.

Fisherman Royce Taylor was on one of the boats stopped by the water police, who said it was important to see a police presence on the water to "keep the idiots down”.

Mr Taylor said while he didn't see too many people on the water tonight, he was on the water because he was fishaholic.

He said for those doing the right thing, being stopped by the water police was no trouble at all.

For more information on vessel safety and regulations visit www.msq.qld.gov.au.



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