Safer Boat­ing with Coast­guard

Cross­ing a sand bar can be a dan­ger­ous en­deav­our, even for the most sea­soned boatie. Each year boats are dam­aged and peo­ple are in­jured or killed when a cross­ing goes wrong. Places like Manukau, Raglan and Kawhia, in par­tic­u­lar, have no­to­ri­ously dif­fi­cult

Boating NZ - - Contents - LEARN MORE To im­prove your VHF ra­dio, cell­phone, EPIRB, whis­tle, dis­tress flares and other Sea Sur­vival com­mu­ni­ca­tion skills, con­sider do­ing a Coast­guard Boat­ing Ed­u­ca­tion Boat­mas­ter course. Visit www.boat­inge­d­u­ca­tion.org.nz for more in­for­ma­tion.

BWhen you cross the bar, make sure it’s the right time to do so. The op­ti­mum time to cross is within three hours be­fore high tide if go­ing out, and be­tween three hours be­fore and 1 to 1½ hours af­ter high tide com­ing back in.

Dou­ble check that the con­di­tions are safe to cross both on the way over and when you re­turn. If you have other peo­ple on

board make sure they are also keep­ing a look­out astern and to the sides of the boat for you. Ap­proach the bar at a mod­er­ate speed. When you’ve suc­cess­fully crossed over, call Coast­guard and let us know that you’re safe and well.

Most im­por­tantly, if in doubt, don’t go out! It’s much bet­ter to be safe than sorry, so if there’s any doubt at all about the weather con­di­tions or your skill level – stay put. Any time you’re about to cross a bar, give Coast­guard a call on *500 or VHF Chan­nel 16 and com­plete a Bar Cross­ing Re­port. If any­thing goes wrong, Coast­guard knows where you are and can send help if you need it.

If you’re not cross­ing a bar but are still head­ing out on the wa­ter, it’s a good idea to log a Trip Re­port through the Coast­guard app. Un­til now, boat­ies log­ging trip re­ports have done so through their VHF ra­dio or by call­ing Coast­guard on the phone.

The new app al­lows Trip Re­ports to be made from your smart­phone. You can add your boat de­tails, in­clud­ing your call sign, and nom­i­nate a des­ig­nated shore con­tact who will be no­ti­fied by text if you’re over­due – and given ad­vice on next steps to take, in­clud­ing call­ing Coast­guard. You can down­load it at www.coast­guard.nz/app If you’re still un­sure about how to cross a bar safely, or just need a lit­tle more con­fi­dence, Coast­guard Boat­ing Ed­u­ca­tion of­fers a Bar Cross­ing course. A one-day course, it cov­ers im­por­tant in­for­ma­tion such as vis­ual ob­ser­va­tion/ori­en­ta­tion, safety pre­cau­tions, and what to do if things go wrong.

When you cross the bar, make sure it’s the right time to do so.

LEFT Cross­ing a bar for the first time can be a daunt­ing prospect, but with ad­e­quate prepa­ra­tion it needn’t be.

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