Lifejacket message not getting through

DESPITE warnings from police about how dangerous Lake Eucumbene can be, its cold deep waters have claimed yet another boating victim.

The search for the 57-year-old Sydney fisherman who fell overboard on Wednesday of last week was called off on Sunday with little hope of him being found.

Inspector Peter Rooney said the police will be out on the water and continue to patrol the area to try to locate the man's body.

Since January 1, 1992, including the most recent incident last week, there have been 16 reported boating incidents on Lake Eucumbene.

A spokesperson from the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) said seven incidents involved fatalities with eight fatalities in total.

"None of the deceased were wearing a lifejacket at the time of the incident," the RMS spokesperson said.

"All the fatalities involved capsize and subsequent drowning."

Earlier this year Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) launched a campaign to educate boaters in alpine or high country waters of when they need to wear a lifejacket.

Maritime acting manager boating safety and regional operations Craig Whitmore said since November 1, 2010, strengthened lifejacket laws in NSW had required lifejackets to be worn more often by those boating on alpine waters.

Alpine waters are defined as Lake Burrinjuck, Lake Eucumbene, Lake Jindabyne, Khancoban Pondage, Swampy Plains River, Mannus Lake, Googong Reservoir, Blowering Dam, and all navigable waters contained within the boundaries of the Kosciusko National Park.

"Unfortunately, the message is just not getting through - particularly among the people who go fishing on little tinnies or vessels that are less than 4.8m long," Mr Whitmore said.

" There are no exceptions, if you are on a small vessel, then you need to wear a lifejacket at all times."

Mr Whitmore said boating on alpine waters posed additional hazards to boating at other locations, with water temperatures averaging below 14 degrees for much of the year, and dropping to about six to seven degrees in winter.

"If you unexpectedly fall into the water, you may quickly become incapacitated as your body reacts to the 'cold shock' of immersion," he said.

"Wearing a lifejacket in cold water conditions is critical because if someone falls in, it will keep their head out of the water and prevent them from sinking - which makes inhaling water and drowning unlikely.

"This allows some time to regain composure and swim to safety of be rescued."

For more information on when to wear a lifejacket in which circumstances, go to www.lifejacketwearit.com.au

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