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Lake Mac among state’s top jetski locations

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The popularity of jetskis and personal watercraft has soared over the past four years, with Lake Macquarie among the state’s busiest locations.

There are now more than 90,000 licenced riders in NSW, an increase of 35% since 2020.

The largest jump in jetski authorisations was among Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2010.

That’s resulted in an additional 23,000 licenced riders, for those aged 13 to 28, a rise of 22% on this time last year.

Lake Macquarie sits in the top five LGAs for newcomers, alongside Canterbury-Bankstown, Sutherland Shire, Central Coast and the Northern Beaches.

However, with that comes a forewarning, following the first statewide compliance blitz of the new year, Operation Stay Afloat.

NSW Maritime crews conducted more than 2,000 vessel safety checks.

While 87% of boat and jetski operators were found to be complying with all licence and safety requirements, officers handed out 186 official warnings and 81 penalty notices.

At least 31.4% were issued for not wearing or carrying a lifejacket, 27.7% were for unlicenced drivers or unregistered vessels and 11.2% were for speeding. 

“A fun day on the water shouldn’t turn into a tragedy,” Minister for the Hunter, and Swansea MP, Yasmin Catley said.

“It’s great we’re seeing locals enjoy our Hunter waterways on jetskis, including young people.

“But, we need them to look after themselves… and each other.

“Safety and compliance are the priorities.

“When you take out a jetski, just like anything on the water, follow the rules.

“That way everyone can relax and enjoy themselves.”

It follows a year where jetski-related offences elevated.

There was a total of 1,560 offences recorded in NSW during 2023, up 53% on the previous 1,023 infringements.

Speeding made up almost 30% of breaches recorded.

More jetskiers were found to be non-compliant in Sydney waters compared to other parts of NSW, with the George’s River, Botany Bay and Port Hacking taking the top spots for illegal activity leading to infringements.

“The best way to enjoy a day out on a jetski is to plan your adventure, pack essentials like water, food and sunscreen, wear a lifejacket and stick to the rules,” the Minister for Transport Jo Haylen said.

“While it’s great to welcome a new generation, inexperience means they need to be extra vigilant when it comes to safety.

“Dangerous driving can be deadly, so ski carefully and look out for yourself and others.”

For more information on jetski safety, check out: https://www.nsw.gov.au/driving-boating-and-transport/waterways-safety-and-rules/resources/pwc-handbook

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