A skipper has been ordered to pay reparations to the widow of a friend who died when his boat capsized in Lake Alexandrina, Mackenzie Country last year.
David Lloyd Batchelor of Timaru was fined $500 and ordered to pay $2500 to the widow of Frank Sanders, 59 when he appeared before Timaru District Court this morning.
Mr Sanders died after Batchelor's 4.7 metre dinghy capsized in April, 2011 carrying four people.
Maritime New Zealand maritime investigations manager Steve van der Splinter said Batchelor broke a law requiring recreational boaties to carry lifejackets for everyone on board. There was one on board and no one was wearing it.
He also failed to follow other key safety recommendations, including avoiding alcohol, checking the weather and carrying emergency communications that will work when wet.
"The men did not have the right equipment, had not done something as simple as checking the weather forecast, and they had been drinking. This was an avoidable tragedy," Mr van der Splinter said.
"Had they been wearing lifejackets, it is less likely that the tragic consequences would have eventuated. If they had carried an emergency beacon or a waterproof VHF radio it would have allowed them to raise the alarm immediately.
"Boaties have to realise that someone - the owner or the skipper - must be responsible for the safety of people onboard.
"They are the ones who must make sure the boat is operated safely. They are accountable."
Batchelor was convicted in June of permitting a boat to be operated in a manner causing unnecessary risk to the occupants.
His sentencing comes a fortnight after five boating mishaps were reported over a single weekend, including one on Wellington harbour in which a man not wearing a lifejacket drowned after the dinghy he was in capsized.
On July 1 2011, Environment Canterbury introduced a bylaw making it mandatory for lifejackets to be worn at all times on vessels under 6m long. Similar bylaws are in place for Hawke's Bay, Greater Wellington and Waikato regional councils, Queenstown Lakes District Council and Environment Southland.