'No excuses' policy for not carrying lifejackets

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The Bay of Plenty Regional Council will be trialing a "no excuses" policy for boaties not wearing or carrying lifejackets. Photo/file
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council will be trialing a "no excuses" policy for boaties not wearing or carrying lifejackets. Photo/file

Bay of Plenty Regional Council will be trialling a "no excuses" policy for recreational boaties not carrying or wearing lifejackets, and those who speed on the water.

Maritime New Zealand director Keith Manch said boaties who break councils' lifejacket and speed rules will be given infringement notices of up to $300, depending on each council's existing bylaws.

The no excuses trial will be run for about five days by each council taking part in the trial at different times during summer. After summer, the trial will be reviewed and decisions made about whether it will be extended in future.

"We are focusing on boaties who do not carry or wear lifejackets and also unsafe speed because they are two of the biggest risks of death and injury," Mr Manch said.

"Up to two-thirds of recreational boaties who died might have been saved if they wore lifejackets.

Wearing your lifejacket is the single most important thing you can do to avoid drowning if you end up unexpectedly in the water."

Mr Manch said boaties speeding in congested areas was dangerous and could cause injuries to children, swimmers, divers and people in small craft. There was a 5 knot speed limit when you are near the shore, swimmers, divers and other boats.

"Each regional council will be letting boaties know in their communities that enforcement action will happen sometime during summer. The specific days when this action will occur will not be publicised. Our expectation is that safe boaties follow the requirements each and every time they go on the water.

"For Maritime NZ it is an important addition to the mix of education and promotional activities that we traditionally use to encourage safer boating."

Mr Manch said the intention was to deter those boaties who did not prioritise safety and chose to break the rules.

"Our aim is to reduce boating fatalities and injuries."

The trial, funded by Maritime NZ, will enable harbourmasters and their staff to get out on the water more often.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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