Boaties' cautious approach wins praise

By Genevieve Helliwell


Tauranga water safety experts are praising the actions of "well behaved" boaties this holiday season.

Despite the large swells and strong winds over the past two weeks in the harbour, Tauranga Coastguard volunteers and the duty harbour masters have encountered only a handful of incidences - mostly towing boats with motor problems.

Coastguard incident manager Brian Palmer said he was impressed with the way boaties had responded to the conditions, postponing their trips if they deemed the sea unsafe.

"It's been relatively quiet this year. We haven't had the boat traffic we normally have ... on a day like today there would be 500 boats out there but at the moment I doubt there's a dozen.

"The conditions haven't been the best - large swells and strong winds - so people have seen the forecast and chosen not to go out. It's a smart move really."

Over the past two weeks, the Coastguard had responded to more ambulance-assistance work than it normally would, Mr Palmer said.

"On Christmas Day, when the helicopters couldn't fly because of the foggy conditions, we had two medi-vacs, one from Moutohora Island (Whale Island) and the other from Motiti.

"Then on Saturday, a person was injured on his boat. They hurt their back and dislocated their knee and we had to transport a paramedic out and bring them back. Apart from that, and the odd boat tow, it's been reasonably quiet."

Tauranga harbourmaster Jennifer Roberts agreed boaties had been "well behaved" and there had been "very few incidents".

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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