Tragedy despite full care

THE drowning of a father after his boat capsized on the East Coast is an absolute tragedy, compounded by the fact his two sons and their friend were present.

The group had been attempting to navigate the hazardous St Helens barway when their 5.2-metre boat was swamped by one wave and then tipped by another.

Thankfully, nearby vessels were quick to react and plucked the three children – aged 12, 15 and 16 – from the rough water.

Unfortunately, the 45-year-old man was found some time later and could not be revived.

Police said all four were wearing personal flotation devices, the boat was in good condition and carrying the correct safety devices.

This tragic event will be a reminder to everyone to take all safety precautions and be mindful of the conditions.

With the holiday period in full swing and the weather heating up, hundreds of Tasmanians will be hitting the water.

It will also reignite the issue of what can be done to make the area safer for boaties.

St Helens barway has been a notoriously dangerous area for boating for many years.

In 2010, a woman drowned after the boat she was in capsized and six others died in similar circumstances in the 1970s.

It is too simple to call for the state government to fix the barway issue – it has been an ongoing problem that successive governments have been unable to solve.

All levels of government – local, state and federal – should be involved in the discussion around potential solutions to safety concerns.

Is it regular dredging to deepen the body of water or is it building a breakwater or groyne out to sea?

Whatever work is done, the barway will never be 100 per cent safe, particularly in summer, when north-easterly winds make it shallower.

As the most recent event showed, even having the correct safety gear might not be enough when conditions are bad.

The Examiner offers its sincere condolences to the victim’s family.

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