Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has copped a $250 fine for failing to wear a lifejacket while moving a dinghy on the waters near his Sydney harbourside mansion.
NSW Roads and Maritime Services confirmed: “A $250 fine will apply to the Prime Minister who was not wearing a life jacket when moving his dinghy a short distance earlier this week.”
The executive director of the maritime division, Angus Mitchell, said safety was paramount on NSW waters and the fine dished out to the PM was a “timely reminder during the holiday season to always wear a lifejacket”.
Mr Turnbull, who is enjoying a stay-cation with his wife Lucy at their lavish Point Piper home, was moving the vessel about 20 metres from a jetty back to a beach adjoining the house.
He was pinged because although he was not moving in open waters, he was in the boat alone, and was therefore required to wear a lifejacket at all times. Photographs of Mr Turnbull sans jacket, taken by Sydney paparazzi, appeared in The Australian.
Mr Turnbull said he had learned his lesson and “will make sure I always wear a lifejacket in my dinghy regardless of how close I am to the shore, just as I always do on my kayak”.
Although “the rules can often seem very technical … they are there to keep us safe and we should all comply with them”, he said on Facebook.
A spokesman said Mr Turnbull would pay the $250 fine but had nothing more to add on Friday afternoon.
Mr Mitchell said authorities would be “out in force” during the New Year period “to ensure all boaters are adhering to maritime safety laws”, especially after the death of a man in waters off Kurnell on Friday when a boat capsized.
In that case, the three men on board had access to lifejackets but were not wearing them, according to Westpac Rescue Helicopter chief executive Stephen Leahy.
“We want to ensure everyone enjoys their break and gets home safely this summer so please, wear a life jacket and take care on our waterways,” Mr Mitchell said.