Man fined over Lake Eppalock boat crash 

A four-year-old boy is lucky to be alive after a motor boat collision at Lake Eppalock on Christmas Day last year, a court has heard.

Magistrate Bruce Cottrill said the incident showed careless driving of a boat could be just as dangerous as that of a car.

Shayne Robert McDonald, 43, of Woodvale, pleaded guilty in the Bendigo Magistrates Court yesterday to unlicensed driving and careless driving. The court was told McDonald’s motor boat was travelling around the lake at 30km/h when it hit another boat about 1.30pm.

Prosecuting, Leading Senior Constable Somerton said a four-year-old passenger in the second boat was rendered unconscious by the impact.

Leading Senior Constable Somerton said the boy became trapped between both boats and was pushed underwater.

He said that when the boy was pulled free he appeared to have stopped breathing.

Men from both boats administered CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and the child regained consciousness.

Leading Senior Constable Somerton said the child was lucky to not receive any lasting injuries in the incident, but the boat was severely damaged and one of the other passengers injured his knee.

The court heard McDonald had a NSW boat licence but was required to hold a Victorian permit because he had lived in the state for more than two years.

McDonald, representing himself, said he was sorry the incident had occurred. “My view was obstructed on the turn,” he said.

But Mr Cottrill said McDonald had been “careless” in his control and management of his vehicle.

“The dangers with boats are manifest and this is an example,” he said. 

“Were it not for a stroke of good fortune, I might have been determining this matter as a coroner.

“I must send out the message to the community that responsibility is needed when using boats.”

Mr Cottrill imposed a $2000 fine without conviction.

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