Warnings for boaties increase

By Shauni James

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The Bay of Plenty Regional Council Maritime Team have issued more than treble the amount of infringement notices this summer compared to last summer.
The Bay of Plenty Regional Council Maritime Team have issued more than treble the amount of infringement notices this summer compared to last summer.

While there have been no accidents reported on Rotorua's lakes this summer, there has been a big increase in the number of infringement and warning notices issued.

Last summer, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Maritime Team issued a total of 39 warning and infringement notices in the Rotorua Lakes region for breaches of the Navigation Safety Bylaw between December 1, 2014, to April 6, 2015, the council senior maritime officer Ross Powell said.

Already this summer, 128 warnings and infringement notices have been issued.

Mr Powell said it was difficult to compare the numbers as officers were more proactive this summer.

A Breach of Bylaw Notice was a warning compared with an infringement notice, which was effectively a fine.

Although no accidents had been reported, a number of complaints had come through the duty harbour master phone, Mr Powell said.

"While the majority of these folks do obey the rules, there are always going to be those who are either not aware or choose not to obey them."

He said the harbour patrol wardens did their best to educate people on how to be safe on the water and follow navigation safety rules, with the majority of those spoken to about navigation safety being from out of the area.

"The main rules they observe being broken include towing without an observer, exceeding five knots in areas they are not supposed to and not carrying correctly-sized lifejacket or buoyancy aids for each person on board."

Coastguard Rotorua Lakes president Barry Grouby said it had been a quiet season so far, which may be down to the the weather being poor.

Coastguard had attended a couple of breakdowns and towing jobs, Mr Grouby said.

"I have heard boat behaviour has been quite bad."

But boaties the Rotorua Daily Post spoke to said they had found the behaviour of others to be fairly good, with jet skis the most common issue.

Former Rotorua man Daryl Cogger said he had been water skiing and biscuiting on the lakes.

"From our point of view, most boaties have been really good."

He said the tricky ones were jet skis, as they moved fast and went out in front of boats.

"Apart from that, there's been no problems."

Lake safety this summer:

Infringement notices:

* 17 to jet ski operators

* 18 to recreational boaties

Breach of Bylaw notices (warnings):

* 26 to jet ski operators

* 60 to recreational boaties

* 7 to kayak/paddle boarders

Total so far: 128 (compared to 39 for December 1, 2014, to
April 6, 2015)

- Rotorua Daily Post

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