It’s a boat
I had a runabout once. It was noisy, smelly and scared off all the fish everywhere it went. So I sold it and invested in a kayak. Best decision of my life. Oh the peace and quiet, my fitness levels went up and so did my catch rate.
The downside though is having to deal with a small minority of power boaties who seem to have no clue as to the rules of the sea or just don’t care. I have had several bad experiences but the most recent has prompted me to write this.
I was returning to the Onerahi boat ramp via the marked channel and met a small runabout leaving it. He was passing me on the wrong side and generating a big wake. I could tell he was too close because he should not have been able to hear what I said. I politely told him he was passing me on the wrong side. His reply
was “but you’re not a fucking boat!” Well I didn’t expect that level of animosity. I knew he was wrong but could not debate the point as he had already left in a cloud of expletives and two-stroke.
One legal definition of a ship can be found in the Maritime Transport Act 1994 and describes it as every description of boat or craft used in navigation, whether or not it has any means of propulsion. The Crimes Act 1961 has a similar definition. Legally then, a kayak is a ship but I think for the purposes my argument it is quite clearly ‘a boat’.
Because kayakers are everywhere these days and summer is now almost here I hope sharing my experience serves to remind everyone kayaks enjoy the same legal rights as any other craft on the water.
_ Bruce Fox Matarau