Police to enforce safety water-use rules

ANTI-social and dangerous behaviour on and off water at New Norfolk has promoted a new safety campaign and a warning from police.

Jet skiers, ski boat operators and all water craft users have been warned Tasmania Police marine division intend to closely focus on the River Derwent at New Norfolk over coming weeks. While MAST and the Derwent Valley Council have launched a renewed education campaign for users of the River Derwent at New Norfolk, police are being more pointed in their warning.

Senior Sergeant Justin Lawson, from the Marine and Rescue Services division of Tasmanian Police, said last summer a number of infringements were issued for various boating offences between Millbrook Rise and the old caravan park boat ramp. “This year, as with all waterways in Tasmania, the public will see a police presence,” Sergeant Lawson said.

MAST and the Derwent Valley Council have formed a working group with key stakeholders to help address some on-water issues such as anti-social behaviour. The council has also been working with the Tasmanian Police focusing on a spate of vandalism and other on-land anti-social behaviour seen recently.

MAST CEO Lia Morris said the working group had successfully come to agreement about the need for safety. “Safety is the major priority for MAST and the Derwent Valley Council,” Ms Morris said. “The River Derwent at New Norfolk is an extremely popular waterway for many forms of craft – ski boats, rowing shells, jet skis, paddle boards and skis. “People need to take responsibility for themselves and be conscious of what is happening around them, particularly around boat ramps and where traffic density is high.”

Derwent Valley Mayor Michelle Dracoulis said that access to activities on the water plays an important role in the community. “It’s important that everyone can use the river and that these activities can continue as safely as possible,” Mrs Dracoulis said. “The council is very focused on making sure the river is used properly and safely for the entire community of New Norfolk and the many visitors who come to the Valley. “All river users have the right to feel safe, whether they’re swimming, skiing, rowing or using the pontoons.”

The current rules of use for the waterway are:
• 5 Knots from Caravan Park upstream – no turning for water sport activities past that point;
• if paddling keep as far as practical to the right hand side of the river;
• swimmers be conscious of boats, keep close to shore;
• designated ski area from Sorell Creek to caravan park ramp – https://mast.tas.gov.au/safe-navigation/aquatic-events-designated-ski-areas/ (5 knots unless towing a skier);
• always tow in anticlockwise direction;
• paddle craft are encouraged to paddle upstream of the caravan park ramp in the 5-knot zone on busy days to avoid interactions with skiers; and
• jet skis are not permitted to exceed 5 knots within the designated ski area unless they are towing a skier.

For more information about the area’s rules of use visit http://www.mast.tas.gov.au