Lifevest changes ‘bloody good idea’

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE - RHYS CHAM­BER­LAIN

Chil­dren un­der 10-years-old could be made to wear a life­jacket on all ves­sels at all times if a pro­posed amend­ment to a coun­cil by­law is ap­proved.

At a Queen­stown Lakes District Coun­cil meet­ing last week, coun­cil­lors elected to put the pro­posal out for pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion.

Queen­stown Lakes District har­bour­mas­ter Marty Black said it was a ‘‘bloody good idea’’ and en­cour­aged sup­port.

‘‘It needs to hap­pen. End of story,’’ Black said.

The wear­ing of life­jack­ets by chil­dren ‘‘had got a lot bet­ter’’ re­cently, but Black felt mak­ing it law was im­por­tant.

Com­mer­cial ves­sels like pop­u­lar tourist boat the TSS Earnslaw would be ex­empt.

Coun­cil reg­u­la­tory man­ager Lee Web­ster said the Earnslaw, and other ves­sels like it, fell un­der Mar­itime Op­er­a­tor Safety Sys­tem rules so un­der 10s would not be re­quired to wear a life jacket.

‘‘They just need to make sure they have got life jack­ets on board,’’ Web­ster said.

All other ves­sels trav­el­ling in Lakes District wa­ter­ways would re­quire chil­dren un­der 10-year­sold to wear a life jacket.

Presently, all peo­ple on a boat un­der six me­tres long had to wear a life jacket and, on larger boats, if told to by the per­son in charge.

The pub­lic would be con­sulted on other pro­posed changes too.

Web­ster hoped the changes would be in place by Novem­ber.

Har­bour­mas­ter Marty Black.

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