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WA boat users warned to stay safe

AAP logoAAP 29/12/2016

Floods in Western Australia's north and strong swells expected in the state's south this week has prompted a warning for boat users to check weather conditions before heading out.

The festive season is usually the busiest time of year, with Volunteer Marine Rescue Service crews responding to 290 incidents, including 30 life-threatening emergencies, last summer.

Department of Fire and Emergency Services deputy commissioner Steve Fewster warns a day on the water can become dangerous very quickly.

"Unlike a vehicle breakdown where you might be inconvenienced for a few hours, a similar scenario on a boat at the mercy of strong winds and waves could be life-threatening," he said.

"Simple actions to take to stay safe on the water include having the correct safety equipment on board including life jackets and distress flares, maintaining a proper lookout to avoid collisions, and being aware of your boat propellers that could cause serious injuries."

Geoff Brierley, from Cape Naturaliste, is WA's longest serving commander with 23 years' experience and said helping his local community made volunteering worth it.

"Attending an incident can be difficult because it might be someone you know, but the reason my team and I have dedicated years of our lives to training is so we can save lives," he said.

"I will continue to do so as long as I can."

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