‘No excuses’ fines for no lifejackets and speeding boats

20 October 2016

As part of Safer Boating Week (October 14-21), Maritime NZ and Regional Councils have announced eight councils will be trialing a “no excuses” policy for recreational boaties not carrying or wearing lifejackets and those who speed on the water.

The Director of Maritime NZ, Keith Manch, said boaties who break councils’ lifejacket and speed rules will be given infringement notices of up to $300, depending on each council’s existing bylaws.

The ‘no excuses’ trial will be run for about five days by each council at different times during summer. After summer, the trial will be reviewed and decisions made about whether it will be extended in future.

“We are focusing on boaties who do not carry or wear lifejackets (as required by the Maritime Transport Act and Regional Council bylaws) and also unsafe speed because they are two of the biggest risks of death and injury,” Mr Manch said.

“Up to two-thirds of recreational boaties who died might have been saved if they wore lifejackets. Wearing your lifejacket is the single most important thing you can do to avoid drowning if you end up unexpectedly in the water.

“Boaties speeding in congested areas is dangerous and can cause injuries to children, swimmers, divers and people in small craft. There is a five knot speed limit when you are near the shore, swimmers, divers and other boats.

“Each regional council will be letting boaties know in their communities that enforcement action will happen sometime during summer. The specific days when this action will occur will not be publicised. Our expectation is that safe boaties follow the requirements each and every time they go on the water.

“For Maritime NZ it is an important addition to the mix of education and promotional activities that we traditionally use to encourage safer boating.

“The intention is to deter those boaties who do not prioritise safety and choose to break the rules. Our aim is to reduce boating fatalities and injuries.” The trial, funded by Maritime NZ, will enable harbourmasters and their staff to get out on the water more often.

The councils taking part are :

Council Contact
Northland Regional Council Jim Lyle, Regional Harbourmaster
09 402 7516
Bay of Plenty Regional Council Jessica Somerville
0800 884 881 ext 8149
Waikato Regional Council Stephen Ward
07 859 0782
Hawke's Bay Regional Council Martin Moore
027 445 5592
Tasman District Council Dan Cairney
03 543 8400
Nelson City Council media@ncc.govt.nz
Marlborough District Council Karen Fisher
021 113 9597
03 5779491
Canterbury Regional Council Gary Manch
027 436 0134

Safer Boating Week, October 14-21

Safer Boating Week is the week before Labour Day weekend, the traditional start of recreational boating in much of the country. The aim is to encourage boaties to take simple steps before getting back on the water: Prep your boat, Check your Gear, Know the rules.

  • Prep - service the engine, check and change the fuel, check the battery and just generally give the boat a good onceover.
  • Check - make sure your lifejackets are still fit for purpose and you have enough. Service any inflatable lifejackets and ensure you have two reliable forms of communication equipment.
  • Know - ensure you know the “rules of the road” on the water, and check your local bylaws to make sure you understand what the requirements are in your area.

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