Rule change for boats is floated

Central Leader - - NEWS - By CARALISE TRAYES

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.

SUP rules:

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