Boat­ies are risk­ing death cross­ing bar

Coastal News - - Front Page -

Heed boat­ing safety mes­sages over bar cross­ings or risk death and se­ri­ous in­jury.

That’s the call from a dis­ap­pointed Waikato Re­gional Coun­cil har­bour­mas­ter af­ter a cap­siz­ing at Port Waikato that where three mid­dle-aged men from Pukekohe needed to be res­cued.

The trio went over­board when their 5.5m alu­minium run­about struck a wave and over­turned near the Port Waikato bar in Novem­ber.

Only two of the three men were wear­ing life­jack­ets, they car­ried no means of water­proof com­mu­ni­ca­tion and they failed to log a trip re­port with Coast­guard.

“We are ex­tremely dis­ap­pointed that these sorts of cru­cial boat­ing safety mes­sages aren’t be­ing put into ef­fect by boat­ies,” says mar­itime ser­vices team leader Richard Bar­nett.

“Peo­ple who get into trou­ble in these sorts of cir­cum­stances, with­out hav­ing taken sim­ple safety mea­sures, are risk­ing death or se­ri­ous in­jury. We want every­one to come home safe at the end of the day and fol­low­ing some sim­ple rules could save the life of your­self, your fam­ily and your mates. Don’t take silly short­cuts.”

The re­cent na­tional safer boat­ing cam­paign sup­ported by the coun­cil’s mar­itime ser­vices team fo­cussed heav­ily on pro­mot­ing the im­por­tance of al­ways be­ing pre­pared.

“We can’t stress enough that when cross­ing a bar it is im­por­tant to al­ways wear a life­jacket — not only is it law but it could be the dif­fer­ence be­tween life and death,” says Richard.

It’s par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant for peo­ple to al­ways check marine fore­casts be­fore they go out on the wa­ter.

“Metser­vice pro­vides an ex­cel­lent and free ser­vice about the highs and lows of marine weather and peo­ple need to make sure they’re aware of the con­di­tions they could face.”

Coast­guard runs bar cross­ing sem­i­nars that give boat­ies the tools and lo­cal knowl­edge to help nav­i­gate these of­ten treach­er­ous pieces of wa­ter safety.

■ For more in­for­ma­tion about mak­ing safe bar cross­ings visit www.waika­tore­gion.govt.nz/ser­vices/re­gion­alser­vices/nav­i­ga­tion-safety/rules-and-safety/ safe-bar-cross­ings/

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