The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) is issuing a reminder to passengers of commercial vessels ahead of the busy summer tourism period.
“You jump, you pay,” AMSA A/g Executive Director of Operations, Evan Boyle, said.
In the last eight years, AMSA has issued fines to dozens of passengers for recklessly jumping from commercial vessels into water or onto infrastructure, including most recently two men on the Gold Coast – one who was lucky to walk away from his ‘stunt’ uninjured.
Fines for recklessly jumping from a commercial vessel are a hefty $2,664 under the Marine Safety (Domestic Commercial Vessel) National Law Act 2012 – but Mr Boyle said offenders risked paying a much greater price.
“When you recklessly jump from a commercial vessel into water or onto infrastructure, you not only risk seriously and permanently injuring yourself, but you also endanger the lives of everyone onboard by diverting the attention of the crew from the safe operation of the vessel to retrieve you from the water,” Mr Boyle said.
“There have been cases internationally, including some very recent tragedies, where people who have recklessly jumped from a commercial vessel while it was in motion, have suffered horrific and ultimately fatal injuries.
“A spur-of-the-moment decision could change your life forever.”
AMSA is also encouraging crew, owners and operators of commercial vessels to report these incidents using its online incident reporting system.
“We had an incident in April this year involving a passenger who fell overboard skylarking on a Sydney ferry at night on a trip from Manly to Circular Quay,” Mr Boyle said.
“Weather conditions were rough with 3 to 4 metre swells. The passenger and their mates had been attempting to get airborne on the deck as the vessel ploughed over the swell.
“The passenger jumped, stumbled and fell overboard. The master pulled the vessel around to search for the passenger in the dark and crew managed to locate him. He was lucky to have survived the fall. It could have been a very different ending.
“This kind of reckless behaviour on commercial vessels risks everyone’s safety. That’s why we’re encouraging crew, owners and operators of commercial vessels to report these incidents.”
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