As recreational boaties take to the water in greater numbers over Labour Weekend, harbourmasters and Maritime NZ will be cranking up the “No Excuses” campaign to keep people safe on the water.
Harbourmasters and maritime officers will be on Lake Te Anau in the south and Waitemata Harbour in the north taking action against boaties who break lifejacket and speed rules.
For the first time this year a record 18 harbourmasters are participating in the campaign which will run right through the summer. So, any time they are on the water boaties who break the rules could face the consequences, including infringement notices of up to $300.
The Te Anau Manapouri Fishing Classic over Labour Weekend is one of the biggest fishing competitions in the country with hundreds of boats on the lakes.
Southland’s deputy harbourmaster, Ian Coard said the competition organisers have always been very positive about the No Excuses campaign.
“At the end of the day, we all just want people to come home safely after being on the water,” he said.
“Up to two-thirds of recreational boaties who die might have been saved if they wore lifejackets,” he said.
“Speeding in busy areas is dangerous and can injure children, swimmers, divers and people in small craft.”
Harbourmasters are providing additional staff, time and resources to the campaign, on top of the safer boating work they already do. During the campaign harbourmasters’ staff and Maritime NZ maritime officers are on the water working together. Maritime NZ has made funding available to support the campaign.
Each harbourmaster will be letting boaties in their communities know that enforcement action will happen sometime during summer. The specific days will not be publicised.
Safer Boating Week, which precedes Labour Weekend, encourages boaties to prep, check, know –
Prep your boat: Service the engine, check and change the fuel, check the battery, and generally give the boat a good once-over.
Check your gear: Make sure your lifejackets are still fit for purpose and you have enough, service any inflatable lifejackets, ensure you have two reliable forms of communication equipment – usually marine VHF radio is best; check the marine weather forecast.
Know the rules: Ensure you know the rules of the road on the water, and check your local bylaws to make sure you understand what the requirements are in your area.
Boaties should always follow the boating safety code – wear life jackets, carry at least two waterproof ways of calling for help, check the marine weather, avoid alcohol, and take skipper responsibility.