Rule change for boats is floated
It will be compulsory to wear a lifejacket while on a small boat if a proposed Auckland Council bylaw continues to gain momentum.
The bylaw proposal was initiated by Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board.
The push is for lifejackets to not only be carried onboard but to be worn at all times in boats under 6 metres.
The change comes in the wake of highly publicised incidents where small boats have foundered and occupants drowned. Most could have survived if they were wearing lifejackets, the proposal states.
Advocates say many people can afford to buy lifejackets, available for about $30 at chain stores, and the bylaw could help change the habits of people not heeding advertising campaigns.
The blanket rule would be easier to explain to users, particularly if English is a second language, and is easier to enforce than the current bylaw.
Policy makers acknowledge some exceptions need to be recognised. These include the exclusion of surfboard riders and divers and those travelling in small dinghies between large boats and the shore.
Local boards are discussing the proposal and sending feedback. After iwi and stakeholder group consultation, the bylaw process will need to be completed, including public submissions.
Right, stand up paddleboarders don’t have to wear a lifejacket when surfing, but may have to wear one on flat water. However, the New Zealand Standup Paddlers president Bill Dawes says an exemption is sought within 200 metres of shore so long as a SUP rider is wearing a leg rope or leash attached to the board.
Enforce safety: Local board members are considering making it compulsory to wear a lifejacket while on a boat under 6 metres.