Boaties told "no excuses" for being unsafe on water

  • Published Date 21 Oct 2019

Water Safety Month kicked off last week and Greater Wellington Regional Council's Harbourmaster Grant Nalder reminds Wellingtonians to stay safe out on the water.

"In Wellington we have been pleased with the high level of compliance in regards to carrying and wearing lifejackets in recent years. However, we still come across people who could do more to look after their own safety.

"If you are in or on a small craft there must be a proper sized lifejacket for each person on board. On smaller boats, kayaks, stand up paddle boats, dinghies, ski biscuits and the like, the best way to comply is to wear them," Grant says.

According to Maritime New Zealand, 57 people have died in the water in preventable incidents so far this year, compared to 66 in 2018 & that includes 18 recreational boaties, compared to four for the whole of last year.

As well as continuing to ensure compliance with the lifejacket rules, harbourmasters will also be looking out for speeding vessels (more than 5 knots within 200 metres of shore or a dive flag and 50 metres of another vessel or person in the water).

"We will keep a lookout for divers that do not have a highly visible dive flag on their boat, this applies to both scuba and free divers. We will also ensure all vessels have a means of communication, if you can't communicate that you have a problem then no-one will know to help you."

Grant also joins a record 17 other harbourmasters around the country who are taking part in this year's "No Excuses" campaign.

The campaign which began this month focuses on recreational boaties who are not carrying or wearing life jackets, and those whose speed on the water is unsafe.

Harbourmasters, Maritime New Zealand Maritime Officers and Wellington Maritime Police are working together for at least five random days in each region over the summer.

Councils will take action against boaties who break lifejacket and speed rules, including infringement notices of up to $200.

"Speeding in busy areas is dangerous and can injure children, swimmers, divers and people in small crafts. There are no excuses for acting irresponsibly out on the water."

Greater Wellington are running an online survey for boat owners with the chance to win a $700 engine service. Take the survey by October 25 to be in the draw.

Updated April 27, 2022 at 3:13 PM

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