Boat safety campaign
Maritime NZ, the Lake Taupo¯ Harbourmaster and 13 councils are running an extended No Excuses campaign for recreational boaties not carrying or wearing lifejackets and those who speed on the water.
Maritime NZ deputy director Sharyn Forsyth said action will be taken against boaties who break lifejacket and speed rules. This will include infringement notices of up to $300, depending on each area’s bylaws.
No Excuses began in the summer of 2016 with Maritime NZ and eight councils. Last summer 10 councils chose to join in, and this year this has increased to 14 (including Lake Taupo¯ , whose Harbourmaster is employed by the Department of Internal Affairs). The period of the campaign has also been extended, starting two months earlier than previous years. It will continue to March.
The Maritime Transport Act and council bylaws require carrying and wearing lifejackets. The five knot rule is in place within 200m of shore and divers, and within 50m of swimmers and other boats.
The campaign will be run for five days by each council and on Lake Taupo¯ at different times until March 31.
Each Harbourmaster will be letting boaties know that enforcement action will happen sometime during summer. Specific days will not be publicised.
Harbourmasters are providing additional staff, time and resources to the campaign, on top of safer boating work they already do. Harbourmasters’ staff and Maritime NZ’s Maritime Officers will be on the water working together.
“Up to two-thirds of recreational boaties who died might have been saved if they wore lifejackets,” Ms Forsyth said.
“Boaties speeding in busy areas is dangerous and can injure children, swimmers, divers and people in small craft. Our expectation is that safe boaties follow the rules each and every time they go on the water. There are no excuses for breaking the rules and causing risk to yourself and others.”
Lake Taupo¯ Harbourmaster Heath Cairns.