Editorial: Law must insist on wearing lifejackets

By Kelly Makiha

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Kelly Makiha
Kelly Makiha

Maritime New Zealand's new advertising campaign has started and promises to deliver a hard-hitting message about the necessity to wear lifejackets.

It is targeting men, following the release of figures that show 90 per cent of boating fatalities are men over 40.

A television ad will show that, like bulletproof vests, lifejackets need to be worn to save lives.

Currently, it is law to have lifejackets on your boat for everyone on board. It is not a legal requirement to wear them. How stupid.

After the boating tragedy on Lake Tarawera that claimed the lives of Zoujie Cai, 40, and his 6-year-old daughter, Zexuan Cai, surely it's time to make the wearing of lifejackets compulsory.

What a sad way to start the first day of summer. The tragedy is all the harder to accept because it was so preventable. Mr Cai was not wearing a lifejacket and his daughter was wearing an adult's lifejacket that reportedly slipped off her when she fell in the water.

Research shows that boaties who wear lifejackets are more likely to survive if something goes wrong. About three-quarters of boaties who die in recreational boating accidents each year could have been saved, had they been wearing a lifejacket. That right there is enough reason to change the law.

Cycle helmets have been compulsory since 1994 and no doubt there have been hundreds of lives saved as a result. Just ask Rotorua cyclist Carol Harwood, who was hospitalised a week ago after being knocked off her bike.

Would she be alive today if it weren't for her helmet?

- Northern Advocate

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