Big focus on fans and safety

February 09, 2018

IT HAS been a great year for Moama Water Sports Club.

President John Lomas could not have been happier.

‘‘Last year was my first year as club president,’’ Lomas said.

‘‘And we were incredibly happy with the result. It was a very good race last year, we had a great finale to the event and we couldn’t be happier with how the event was in terms of the fan experience.’’

However, Lomas said the club was always looking for ways to make the event better.

‘‘This year, we want everything to be better for the fans,’’ he said.

‘‘We have gone out and looked at the ways that the spectator side of the event can be better. One of the things that we have done is gone to Telstra and made streaming of the opening of racing possible, so now we can have multiple ways for fans to watch the start of the racing.’’

Lomas said the key thing for spectators was to remember to be safe.

‘‘We cannot stress enough that people should not be swimming in the river during the race,’’ Lomas said.

‘‘When a boat is flying around the water, if you are in the way there is no stopping or getting out of the way.

‘‘The other part of that is that maritime have the authority to stop the race in the event that they believe things are unsafe. If people are in the water, that’s a massive safety risk and it’s a real possibility that the race will be stopped in that event.’’

Safety is a major aspect of the Southern 80, with this year the race seeing the return of RaceSafe H2O technology.

The GPS technology allows a number of things to be tracked.

On the water, a boat has the ability to alert boats around them to any instances, such as a mechanical fault or a skier separating from the boat.

The technology also means those tracking the race on the sideline can monitor the speeds of the boats on the water to make sure boats are keeping within the rules and being safe.

‘‘I think it’s one of the best things they’ve changed about the race,’’ Nailed owner Leigh Thomas said.

‘‘When we get a flash of orange we know we need to make changes to the courses to make sure that we aren’t putting ourselves or anyone else in danger. It’s simple innovations like this that make the event even better.’’

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