Safety first essential when boaties go out
BOAT SAFETY TIPS WATER QUALITY
New Zealanders are known to have a love of fishing, jet boating and pretty much all water sports. However, the love of the water turns deadly more times than people expect and New Zealand has one of the highest drowning rates for a developed country. Drowning was consistently the third highest cause of unintentional death in New Zealand, surpassed only by road vehicle crashes and accidental falls. In the Queenstown Lakes district it was compulsory to wear a life jacket at all times in any boat under six metres. Queenstown harbour master Marty Black said the area led the way bringing in the by-law and ‘‘even if it only saves one life it’s worth it’’. In the past five weeks at least eight people received $300 fines for not following the rule. Mr Black said following simple boating rules was important to stay safe. These include checking weather forecasts, telling someone your plans, not overloading the boat, making sure on boats over six metres there were enough lifejackets for those on board and keeping alcohol to a minimum. Central Otago harbourmaster Shayne Hitchcock said the keep right rule and travelling within five knots of another vessel, raft or swimmers were the two rules that stringently needed to be followed. ‘‘They are the main issues in recreational lakes like Lake Dunstan and they (the rules) are there for a good reason,’’ Mr Hitchcock said. Follow some simple advice to make sure you and your family are safe in the water during the summer months:
Check the boat, engine and equipment before heading out onto the water.
Check the weather forecast before leaving.
Always tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return.
Know the rules – get a copy of the Waterways Bylaw (see related links) Never overload the boat. Make sure there are enough life jackets on board for everyone on the boat.
Make sure you have an anchor, bailer, spare fuel, torch and warm clothing on the boat. Avoid alcohol. Always have two means of communication, for example cell phone, flares.
Source QLDC Every year more boaties were arriving in the area to make the most of the conditions and while wearing a life jacket on Lake Dunstan was not compulsory Mr Hitchcock said it was vital they were worn. ‘‘It’s like jumping into a car and putting your seatbelt on. It’s getting into your boat and putting on your life jacket,’ he said. Mr Hitchcock said the courtesy of jet skiers around other people will be closely monitored this summer. Public Health South health medical officer Derek Bell said before you head to the river or the beach this summer think about the quality of the water you are swimming in, particularly after heavy rainfall.
Swimming in murky water or after heavy rain increased the risk of you and your family getting sick.
‘‘Water quality is known to deteriorate after heavy rain because of run-off from the land. In most cases health effects are minor and can include eye, ear, nose and throat infections.
‘‘Other potentially more harmful diseases are giardiasis, salmonellosis and hepatitis A,’’ Mr Bell said.
Keep yourself and your family safe by remembering:
The safest time to swim is when there has been no heavy rain for at least two days and you can see your toes while standing knee deep.
The safest areas to collect shellfish are away from river mouths, drains and pipes. The best time to collect shellfish is after five days of clear weather.
Government reports released in July show that some popular swimming sites had deteriorated, so vigilance is recommended.
‘‘It is important to know what you are swimming in and potentially ingesting as you swim,’’ Mr Bell said.
Stay safe: Queenstown Lakes District harbourmaster Marty Black (left) along with Jennifer Forrest and water warden Louis Adamson aboard patrol jetskis on Queenstown Bay. Mr Black has warned boaties and river users to expect patrollers to pop up anywhere, anytime over the holiday period and to ensure they use lifejackets and obey water safety rules – or face the consequences.