Port swimmers at risk

By Anne-Marie McDonald

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Wharf St boat ramp
Wharf St boat ramp

"ONE of them is going to get minced one day."

That is the fear of two Whanganui boaties have for swimmers who they say are acting dangerously by getting in the way of boats at the Wharf St boat ramp.

Graeme and Ray, who didn't want to give their surnames, are keen fishermen who regularly use the boat ramp. They say that in warm weather people like to swim and jump off the wharf.

"This becomes a problem when they don't realise the boats have right of way," Graeme said.

In a recent event, the two friends, who had been fishing in Graeme's boat, were attempting to bring the boat back to the wharf and load it on to their trailer, when they were "inundated" by young people jumping off the wharf.

"They were jumping in front of, behind and alongside the boat. We yelled at them to get out of the road, and they didn't - they thought it was a great joke," Graeme said.

"This is not an isolated incident. We go out regularly, and it's an ongoing problem."

Graeme said they have been sworn at and one of the boat's windows was kicked in. They have laid a complaint of intimidation and wilful damage.

"It's a boat ramp for boaties, it's not a swimming pool," Ray said. "If they want to swim there when there's no boats there, there's no problem."

The two men said the area had been very busy this year, thanks to a very warm summer. There was a sign up warning people not to swim when boats are present, but it had made no difference.

"When you're trying to manoeuvre a boat, you have to concentrate - you can't be worrying about people in the water," Graeme said.

"Something has to be done before somebody gets hurt."

Whanganui police did not answer a request for comment.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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