Pro­posal for boat­ing by­law puts onus on skip­pers

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Skip­pers should have the fi­nal say in the life­jacket de­bate, coun­cil says.

The draft Nav­i­ga­tional Safety By­law, in­clud­ing a pro­posal that life­jack­ets have to be worn at all times on ves­sels un­der six me­tres in length, was de­lib­er­ated by a coun­cil hear­ings panel on June 6.

The panel rec­om­mended manda­tory life­jack­ets on small boats head­ing to sea but said skip­pers could make the fi­nal call about when they could be re­moved.

The by­law re­ceived 395 sub­mis­sions with about 80 per cent rais­ing con­cerns about the pro­posal, largely from the boat­ing com­mu­nity.

Panel chair­man and coun­cil­lor Calum Pen­rose says the rec­om­men­da­tion is a ‘‘good mid­dle ground’’.

‘‘The pur­pose of the pro­posal around life­jack­ets was driven by con­cern from our lo­cal boards and com­mu­ni­ties of the num­ber of peo­ple drown­ing who were not wear­ing life­jack­ets, so we put it out there to get the pub­lic’s views.

‘‘In the end I think we have come to a good mid­dle ground which puts the re­spon­si­bil­ity back on the skip­per while also re­duc­ing the risk of pre­ventable drown­ings.’’

Other rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude an ed­u­ca­tion pro­gramme and a Transport Act amend­ment mak­ing it il­le­gal to op­er­ate a boat un­der the in­flu­ence of drugs or al­co­hol that ren­der the skip­per in­ca­pable of proper con­trol.

The rec­om­men­da­tions will be pre­sented to the gov­ern­ing body to make a fi­nal de­ci­sion.

Photo: FAIR­FAX NZ

Buckle up: The de­bate about manda­tory life­jack­ets on small ves­sels con­tin­ues.

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