Regulator investigates Anglesea kayak incident

5 May 2016

Transport Safety Victoria (TSV) is investigating the kayak incident at Anglesea on Tuesday which led to six students and two teachers being rescued and the loss of all vessels.  

As part of the investigation, TSV is looking into the actions of the company that hired out the kayaks (Great Ocean Road Adventure Tours) and the planning and approval processes for such activities that were followed by Brauer College in Warrnambool. Discussions will also be had with the Department of Education and Training. TSV's investigation will determine whether any breaches of marine safety law have occurred.

TSV's Director of Maritime Safety, Peter Corcoran, said he had serious concerns about the actions of all involved in the incident, particularly on a day when the weather conditions were forecast to be severe.

"Despite the weather warnings for this week, we're dismayed to see people continuing to put themselves and others at risk," said Mr Corcoran.

"It is difficult to understand how any boater would consider the severe weather warnings in place to represent safe boating conditions.

"In this recent incident, the eight kayakers fell out of their kayaks and spent almost an hour in the water approximately 1km off Anglesea Beach. Luckily they were all wearing lifejackets."

TSV has revealed that this incident is almost identical to the one that occurred in Torquay in April 2006 where 16 students from Lara Secondary College were swept out to sea while canoeing in very poor weather.

"We're taking this latest incident very seriously as there have been too many deaths and near misses in recent years involving paddle craft," said Mr Corcoran.

"Our strong advice to boaters is to always check the weather using a marine weather forecast before heading out, as well as checking how conditions are set to develop over the course of their trip."

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