Boating collisions on Gladstone harbour rise 62%

WHILE Queensland has recorded its lowest number of boating deaths in a decade, the shipping hub of Gladstone has seen a 62% spike in the number of vessel collisions and groundings.

Seven lives were lost at sea last year in Queensland, which is down significantly on the 14 deaths in 2011.

Statewide the number of marine incidents - not including cyclone-related activity - increased by 9.8% in 2012 from 2011.

But the number of marine incidents in Gladstone, which is projected to see a boom in shipping movements over coming years in line with increasing resource activity, increased by 62%.

According to the 2012 Marine Incidents Report, tabled in Queensland Parliament this week, there was also a 137% increase in vessel movements in the Gladstone harbour region.

A majority of the incidents were collisions with objects, followed by collisions between ships and unintended groundings.

Transport Minister Scott Emerson said marine safety operations would continue to be a priority for harbour users.

Further north, Mackay marine incidents decreased by 19% between 2011 and 2012.

The recently tabled report stated most fatalities could have been avoided if lifejackets and safety lanyards had been used.

"If masters of these vessels had maintained an appropriate level of situational awareness and were mindful of their own limitations and those of their vessels, these incidents might have been avoided," the report stated.

Mr Emerson referred to the report also finding only one in the seven people that died had worn a lifejacket.

Two people who died fell overboard and were run over by their own vessel.

"A safety lanyard connected to an engine cut-out switch can be worn by vessel operators to eliminate this risk," Mr Emerson said.

"The use of a safety switch in powered craft is emerging as a safety precaution almost as critical as lifejackets - especially for solo boaties."



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