No excuse for not wearing lifejacket
On Friday Maritime NZ, 13 councils, including Waikato Regional Council, and the Lake Taupo¯ Harbourmaster are starting 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 the campaign is starting in Southland this year, with Environment Southland Harbourmaster’s staff and Maritime NZ Maritime Officers on the water together during the Te Anau Fishing Contest.
Other councils and Lake Taupo will be joining in between now and March.
Councils will take action 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 still 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 No Excuses campaign will be run for five days by each of the councils and on Lake Taupo¯ at different times between today and the end of March next year.
Each Harbourmaster will be letting boaties know in their communities that enforcement action will happen sometime during summer. The specific days will not be publicised.
Harbourmasters are providing additional staff, time and resources to the campaign, on top of the safer boating work they already do.
During the campaign Harbourmaster staff and Maritime NZ’s Maritime Officers will be on the water working together.
Maritime NZ has made funding available to Harbourmasters.
“Up to two-thirds of recreational boaties who died might have been saved if they wore lifejackets,” said Sharyn.
“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.”
Wearing lifejackets and obeying speed rules will be the focus of the No Excuses campaign this summer.