Safety focus for new marine officer

Safety focus for new marine officer

A FAMILIAR face is back patrolling the West Coast.

Former West Coast police senior sergeant Hank Swalue started work last week as the state transport department's new marine safety officer covering waters from Whyalla to the Western Australian border.

After retiring from the police force after a 42-year career in 2006 Mr Swalue broadened his experience on the water working in the tuna and pilchard industries checking quotas and ensuring compliance with endangered species regulations.

Now he will use this experience to increase the understanding of safety on the water and how it can save lives.

"My main role is to ensure safe boating on the West Coast," he said.

Mr Swalue said he had the authority to issue expiation notices and report people who were doing the wrong thing, but he saw his main role as education rather than compliance.

"My motto has always been 'treat people with respect and talk them the way you expect to be spoken to and get cooperation.'"

He will be out and about at boat ramps and on the water checking boat licences, boat registration and safety equipment.

"Summer is about to come onto us and the weather is improving so there will be a lot more people out on the water," Mr Swalue said.

"People need to make sure their boats have been serviced and ensure they have the right safety gear on board."