Always wear your lifejacket
With more than a million New Zealanders expected to take to the water in around a million recreational boats this summer it is heartening to see that more boaties seem to be wearing lifejackets.
Maritime NZ director Keith Manch said surveys over time show more and more boaties seem to be getting the message: ’’Always wear your lifejacket’’.
However, between 30 per cent and 40 per cent still do not and our tragic statistic is that about twothirds of recreational boating deaths could be prevented if people wore lifejackets.
Maritime rules make the skipper responsible for each person on board having a life jacket of the right size.
‘‘Our advice, and some councils bylaws, go further – wear it not near it!’’ Manch said.
‘‘It is just common sense. Most accidents occur suddenly with no warning.
‘‘When that happens it’s too late to try to find and put on a lifejacket.’’
It is also important to have the right type of lifejacket.
Consider the type of boating you do, the distance from shore you intend to go, the kind of conditions you are likely to encounter, and the people on board.
The skipper should give each person a lifejacket and explain how inflatable lifejackets are activated.
Show them how to fit, fasten, and adjust their lifejacket, and how to put on and adjust the crotch strap if there is one.
If a whistle and light are fitted,
‘‘Our advice, and some councils bylaws, go further – wear it not near it!’’
show them to passengers and explain how the light is turned on.
Then, check all lifejackets are being worn correctly and are not damaged.
After a trip, rinse off salt water to help prevent corrosion.
Auto-inflate lifejackets should be wiped with a wet sponge – not rinsed because they are activated on contact with water.
Store lifejackets clean, dry, well-ventilated, and out of the sunlight. Do not compress or store under heavy objects.
With all inflatable lifejackets, check that the bladder is not damaged and the gas cylinder has not been discharged.
maritimenz.govt.nz , enter ‘‘lifejackets’’ in the search field.
Suppliers, Coastguard Boating Education and Maritime NZ can give advice.
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