Take two ways to call for help

Upper Hutt Leader - - WHAT’S ON -

‘‘If you can’t tell some­one you are in trou­ble, then no one can res­cue you,’’ says Mar­itime NZ di­rec­tor Keith Manch.

A va­ri­ety of com­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment can be used on the wa­ter – make sure you carry at least two that will work when wet.

The most com­mon used by boat­ies are dis­tress bea­cons, cell­phones, VHF ra­dio and flares.

Dis­tress bea­cons are one of the most reliable ways of sig­nalling that you need help.

EPIRBs (emer­gency po­si­tionindi­cat­ing ra­dio bea­con) are best for boats and other ac­tiv­i­ties on wa­ter.

PLBs (per­sonal lo­ca­tor bea­con) are used in the bush and moun­tains. PLBs are now of­ten also used on the wa­ter but make sure they are a type that can float and op­er­ate when wet.

‘‘We know that smart­phones are now the most com­mon com­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment used by recre­ational boat­ies,’’ Manch says.

‘‘They will only work if they are dry – so keep them in a wa­ter­proof cell­phone bag – and near the coast within range of cell­phone tow­ers.’’

Ben­e­fits of smart­phones in­clude ac­cess to use­ful apps like MetSer­vice Marine for weather fore­casts and Marine Mate for lots of in­for­ma­tion about tides, boat ramps, fish­ing rules etc.

VHF ra­dio lets you talk to other boat­ies and au­thor­i­ties on land.

A wa­ter­proof hand­held ra­dio, at­tached to your life­jacket or belt, will be us­able even if you end up in the wa­ter.

A larger VHF ra­dio fixed to your boat has a greater range and

‘‘Smart­phones are now the most com­mon com­mu­ni­ca­tions equip­ment used by recre­ational boat­ies’’

is bet­ter for reg­u­lar com­mu­ni­ca­tion, but you will not be able to ac­cess it or use it in an emer­gency where it is dam­aged by wa­ter, such as a cap­size.

Flares cre­ate an in­tense bright red flame or an orange plume of smoke; these are highly vis­i­ble from the air and on sea, mak­ing it eas­ier for res­cuers to spot.

How­ever, flares are only use­ful when seen by some­one who can give help or alert oth­ers.

Be­cause each flare burns only for a short time, you should try to max­imise the chances of your flare be­ing seen.

MORE IN­FOR­MA­TION

mar­iti­menz.govt.nz , en­ter ‘‘com­mu­ni­ca­tions’’ in the search field.

Safer Boat­ing NZ Face­book

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