Authorities are urging people to keep checking their safety equipment and wearing their lifejackets when they go out on the water in the Illawarra, even as the boating season draws to a close.
The plea comes as new figures from Transport for NSW Maritime show the number of incidents on NSW waters jumped by almost 50 per cent, while the number of new boat licences issued across the state grew by 60 per cent.
Between July 1 last year and April 8 this year, there were 337 incidents in NSW, up from 227 in the same period the previous year - 31 of which were in the Illawarra.
Collisions with vessels, coming in close quarters to rocks and the like, capsizings, and collisions with fixed objects were the most common incidents.
In the past year, the Illawarra has seen two boating tragedies.
Transport for NSW Maritime boating safety officer Jay Ruming said boaters needed to check their safety equipment and lifejackets were in good condition, and know when and how to use them.
Mr Ruming also asked boaters to heed the rule: "If in doubt, don't go out".
He was out on the Illawarra's waters at the weekend as Transport for NSW Maritime conducted its last compliance operation of the season, and said boaters were generally complying with the rules.
Mr Ruming said he hoped this meant that the messages authorities were putting out to the community were being heard.
Preliminary figures showed that of the 41 safety inspections carried out at the weekend, there was one penalty notice issued, 17 official cautions, and two informal warnings.
Compliance was fairly good across the season as whole, Mr Ruming said, but lifejacket offences, safety equipment offences, and licence offences were among the most common breaches seen where boaters did break the law.
While he was out at the weekend he spoke to boaters about keeping safe, especially in the wake of the recent floods.
The flooding washed debris out into the ocean, Mr Ruming said, and while the Illawarra was not so badly affected as further north, there were still potential hazards.
He said the rise in boat licences across the state might have been the result of people being unable to travel elsewhere, instead choosing to spend their money enjoying NSW waters.
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