Maritime NZ has announced recipients of the annual Fuel Excise Duty (FED) funding for safer boating initiatives to help reduce fatalities and injuries.
In total, 25 projects and initiatives around the country will share $863,000 worth of funding.
Too many people die each year while participating in recreational boating, says Maritime NZ Director Kirstie Hewlett.
Maritime NZ research shows that 98 people died in various incidents between 2015 and 2020.
Ms Hewlett says the fund will help various national and regional campaigns and initiatives to turn that number around.
“We want to ensure all boaties enjoy the water and come home safe,” she says.
“We want to help boaties know, understand and follow the rules each and every time they head out on the water.”
Initiatives which have received funding include Coastguard’s Old4New lifejacket upgrade programme and the Bar Safety Video Series, which received $125,000; Northland Regional Council’s Nobody’s Stronger Than Tangaroa campaign, which received $70,000; and $60,000 for Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s Kia Maruatau ki te wai and Safety is Our Wai scheme.
Many of this year’s grants focus on communities most in need of support, says Ms Hewlett.
“The funding is specifically targeted at on-water compliance activities for people and areas that don’t currently have it, such as ethnic minority groups, low socio-economic and hard-to-reach areas,” she says.
These include Northland, Bay of Plenty and the West Coast.
Pasifika, Asian and Māori communities are the targets of a number of programmes.
These include Coastguard’s Folau Malu campaign, Drowning Prevention Auckland’s Wai Wise initiative and the NZ Underwater Association’s Dive Pacific Māori programme.
A key purpose of the fund is to support campaigns and collaboration of New Zealand’s Safer Boating Forum, a group of organisations dedicated to improving safety in the recreational boating sector.
Forum members include Coastguard, Jet Boating NZ, NZ Search and Rescue Council, Surf Lifesaving NZ, and a number of regional councils.
Ms Hewlett says that collaboration and the allocation of FED funding is essential to saving lives.
“More than two million New Zealanders take part in recreational boating every year and this funding allocation will hopefully ensure their lives are safer as a result,” she says.