A distress beacon could save your life this Labour Weekend

Maritime NZ’s Rescue Coordination Centre NZ (RCCNZ) is reminding trampers, hunters, climbers and boaties to take a distress beacon when heading out this Labour Day weekend.

RCCNZ Manager Mike Hill is also asking people to make sure they register them. An unregistered beacon will still activate and give its position, but rescuers won’t know what they are responding to.

“Is it one person or a group? What were their plans? How experienced are they? Are there children? What equipment do they have? Do they have any medical conditions?

“All that information can be crucially important to emergency services,” Mr Hill said.

“That is why registration includes an emergency contact.”

He said, if you feel you are in “distress” (if you feel that your life is threatened or in grave or imminent danger), you should first try to use two-way communications such as a phone or radio so you can talk to emergency services. If this is unavailable or out of range, then activate your distress beacon.

“When to make that call or activate your beacon is a personal decision, quite different for everybody,” he said.

If you are heading out into the bush or mountains or onto the water, always:

  • plan your trip
  • tell people where you are going
  • check the weather forecasts
  • have the right equipment and enough food for what you are doing
  • have ways to call for help.

Check out the AdventureSmart website, which has useful advice for those heading out on the land, water or snow www.adventuresmart.nz.

Mr Hill also acknowledged the efforts of the 95 percent of New Zealand’s search and rescue responders who are volunteers.

“We’d like to thank these wonderful volunteers who work to save lives and hope their assistance won’t be needed this long weekend.”

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