Don’t Be a Clown on the water this summer

15 December 2012

If you’re going out on the water this summer, don’t be a clown – wear a lifejacket.

Maritime New Zealand’s popular “Don’t Be a Clown” lifejacket advertising campaign has started again for the summer, and the message is simple.

MNZ Maritime Officer Alistair Thomson says most drownings in New Zealand happen close to shore, in small boats under six metres in length. 

“People think because they’re not far out and they’re with their mates that nothing bad’s going to happen.  But in a small boat, sometimes all it takes is for someone to stand up at the wrong time, stability is affected and over you go.

“Often there’s no time to grab your lifejacket and put it on in an emergency, so it’s best to make sure you’re wearing it.”

Mr Thomson says while all lifejackets will help if you end up in the water, it’s also important to choose the right one for the job.

“There’s no need to be clunking around in a large, unwieldy lifejacket – there are slimline inflatable lifejackets available for under $100, and you can buy a basic personal flotation device for around $30.”

Maritime New Zealand is working with partners from Coastguard and Water Safety New Zealand to spread the boating safety messages, particularly in the high-risk Pacific and Maori communities.

“With the tragic case of a father and son drowning at Mangere Bridge in May, and the drowning of two men off Rangitoto Island last month, it’s clear we have more to do to get the message home.  We’ve allocated $50,000 across the board to help educate Pacific and Maori people about safe boating – but every boatie in New Zealand should make sure they’re not being clowns this summer,” says Mr Thomson.

Safe Boating messages for summer:

  • Don’t be a clown – wear your lifejacket
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Check the marine weather forecast
  • Carry two forms of communications equipment that will work when wet

For further information contact:
Maritime New Zealand Media Line
Phone 04 499 7318


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