By Jite Eriabie
Australia’s Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has been fined $250 (£145) after he was photographed driving a dingy while not wearing a lifejacket.
Turnbull issued an apology on Facebook after The Australian newspaper published the photos of him in a motorised inflatable raft near his home in Sydney Harbour.
The Liberal politician, who owns a waterside mansion in the affluent neighbourhood of Point Piper, in east Syndey, said the rules around maritime safety were “very technical” but that he had “learned” his lesson.
Following the publication of the photos, Turnbull said he called the local maritime authorities, who confirmed he was in breach of the rules.
The NSW Roads and Maritime authority has since confirmed that the Prime Minister will be issued with the fine.
In his Facebook apology, Turnbull said he was only moving the dingy a short distance and was close to the shore when the photograph was taken.
He said, “Water safety is all important especially at this time of year and as I discovered today we all need to be very alert to rules about wearing life jackets. Yesterday I was moving an inflatable dinghy from a jetty into the beach – only about 20 metres and always very close to the shore.
“I wasn’t wearing a life jacket, but as NSW Maritime explained to me today when I called them, because I was in the dinghy alone, even for that very short distance the NSW regulations required me to wear one.
“The rules can often seem very technical, but they are there to keep us safe and we should all comply with them. So lesson learned; I will make sure I always wear a life jacket in my dinghy regardless of how close I am to the shore, just as I always do on my kayak.”