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River police have life jackets, jetskis and booze in their sights



Among the river activities to be monitored by police will be the use of jetskis following the death of a 14-year-old boy on December 17 after he was struck by one at Murbko.Saturday marks the beginning of Operation River Safe with extra police officers being deployed along the River Murray.“With the opening of the state’s borders and easing of restrictions we have already noticed a significant influx of people to our popular river areas over the holiday period,” Murray Mallee Police Superintendent Scott Denny said.“This results in a significant increase in the use of watercraft on the river and is even more reason to remain extremely vigilant.“You only have to look at the tragic death of a 14-year-old boy who was struck by a jet ski a few weeks ago.“That incident happened in front of a small group of private shack fronts – it just shows that the entire stretch of the Murray can be dangerous.”Superintendent Denny said that while jetskis and ski boats were considered recreational, they needed to be used and treated like any other vehicle.“They are just as powerful and just as deadly as any motor vehicle used on the road if operated irresponsibly, especially if you’re mixing drugs and alcohol,” he said.“Jetskis are increasingly popular, but they are not a specific targets.“We will be focusing on all water users, we won’t be singling anyone out.”A police spokeswoman said officers would be focusing on regulating and enforcing laws around:Mandatory life jackets for anyone on motorised vessels shorter than 4.8m and for children under 12 on any vessel up to 12m in length.Paddleboard riders required to wear a personal flotation device while on the river.A speed limit of four knots for jetskis operating within 50m of a person in the water.A limit on the use of jetskis to between 8am and 8pm, Monday to Saturday, and 9am to 8pm on Sundays.Testing of vessel operators for drugs and alcohol – people are required to have a blood-alcohol level below .05.A body has been recovered during the search for a missing jet skier near Port Hacking in Sydney’s south. Emergency services were called to following reports three men had been thrown from a jet ski into the water. While one man was not injured and another had suspected chest injuries, the third could not be located. Police divers found the body in the vicinity of the Shiprock Reserve at Dolans Bay. Police Minister Vincent Tarzia called on people using the state’s rivers to be responsible and avoid starting 2022 with a tragedy.“It’s been a tough year and we want South Australians to have good time but a safe time at our best river locations,” he said.

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