Clash between surfers and boaties escalates

The busy waterways of Currumbin






Water Safety

Surfer-boat collision ignites safety debate

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 27 June, 2013 : - - A collision between a surfer and a boat on the Gold Coast has prompted a safety debate. Local surfer and academic Chris Del Mar was paddling out to Currumbin Bar at first light earlier this month when he was hit by a boat. His surfboard was broken in half but he escaped injury.

The incident has sparked a safety debate about whether surfers should be responsible for avoiding boats or vice versa. Burleigh MP Michael Hart says there are similar issues in his electorate and a broader community debate is needed. "I'm very happy to expedite a meeting of concerned stakeholders," he said. "Boats might have lights on when it's dark and surfers need to be aware they may not be visible to those boaties, especially in the dark."

Read the full article at ABC.net


On June 20 the Gold Coast Surf Council issued the following statement:

 
The Surf Council has today demanded that Water Police are called in to manage famous Gold Coast surf break and National Surfing Reserve Currumbin Alley, after successive requests to the Queensland Government have failed. 
 
“How many surfers lives have to be lost before local Tourism Minister Jann Stuckey and State Transport Minister Scott Emerson act on what is certainly another fatality waiting to happen,” Dan Ware Chairman of Gold Coast Surf Council said today from the world surfing capital.
 
In 2011 local surfer Richard King was killed while surfing when struck by a vessel crossing the Currumbin bar. On Saturday 8 June 2013 at approximately 5.45am local surfer and Bond University Professor Chris Del Mar was struck by a vessel crossing Currumbin Bar which failed to stop after the ‘hit and run’ incident. Del Mar survived, however while he formally reported the matter both to the Broadbeach Police Station and Maritime Safety Queensland, he has had no response to date.
 
The GCSC (Gold Coast Surf Council) have raised these issues with both Currrumbin MP Minister Stuckey and Transport Minster Emerson, who both continue to ignore the problem and seek to shift responsibility to Gold Coast City Council. 
 
GCSC has reviewed both the findings of the Queensland Transport investigation into the death of Richard King and media statements made by Minister Stuckey and the Volunteer Marine Rescue at the time of the incident. All sources of information indicate that without meaningful action from Queensland State Government more lives will be lost.
 
Local Surfers lives are threatened by vessels regularly exceeding the 6 knot speed limit both on crossing the bar and within 30 meters of people in the water. Further to this there is little if any evidence of any enforcement activity-taking place by Queensland Water Police or Queensland Transport.
 
GCSC demands immediate action from the Queensland Government to protect the safety of surfers at the famous Currumbin Alley, which is also a National Surfing Reserve.  The Queensland Government must immediately increase enforcement of speed limits and commence a trial of safety initiatives such as increasing the powers of lifeguards, compulsory sounding of warning horns by vessels, education and competency certification for recreational vessel operators using the area.
 
“Surfers have a reasonable expectation to safely use the ‘Alley’ and it is negligent of Ministers Stuckey and Emerson to dismiss their legal duty of care, which continues to endanger the lives of our friends and families,” added Co-Chair Brad Farmer.  
 
Gold Coast Surf Council (GCSC) was established in December 2012 to advocate to all three levels of government, for the interests of the surfing community. Dan Ware (Chairman Gold Coast Surf Council)   danny_ware @ hotmail.com +61 (0) 427013686 Brad Farmer (Co-Chair, GCSC) +61 (0) 413 031870  (Patron, National Surfing Reserves)

www.surfingreserves.org

Source: GCSC & ABC.net

Author: The Editors/Dan Ware

Tags: Gold Coast Surf Council, Government, Currumbin

Water Safety: Surfersvillage





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