Care needed on the water these holidays

5 January 2017

Maritime NZ is reminding boaties to take care on the water with two fatalities reported in the official holiday period to 6am yesterday.

“Make safety a priority when you’re boating this summer,” says Pania Shingleton, Maritime NZ’s Education and Communications Manager. “We ask that boaties remember the safety basics.”

The two reported fatalities include a 68-year-old male who died on Boxing Day while kayaking near Donut Island, off the Whangamata Coast. A 75-year-old woman drowned on 2 January after falling off a boat in Northland at Te Rawhiti Inlet.

Today, Police are searching for a 48-year-old man who went missing from a boat yesterday after ending up in Lake Rotoiti.

This summer, Maritime NZ’s ‘Nobody’s Faster than Disaster’ campaign asks boaties to:

  • wear your lifejacket
  • take two waterproof ways to call for help
  • check the marine weather forecast
  • avoid alcohol
  • be a responsible skipper.

“We’d like to see more people wearing lifejackets at all times. Research shows that people who wear lifejackets on the water are more likely to survive if something goes wrong,” says Ms Shingleton.

“When we say that ‘nobody’s faster than disaster’, it’s the truth. It’s very difficult to put a lifejacket on if you’re not wearing it and you end up in the water.”

In 2016, there were 13 recreational fatalities in New Zealand waters compared with 24 in 2015. Research commissioned by MNZ last year showed 86% of those who own and/or use recreational vessels said they carry enough lifejackets for all those on board (the rate varies, depending on the boat type and the number of passengers carried). Only 63% of boaties say they wear a lifejacket at all times on the water.

“We also recommend that people carry personal locator beacons – they save lives and make searches faster,” says Ms Shingleton.

Notes to editors

The official holiday period began at 4 pm on Friday 23 December 2016 and ended at 6 am on Wednesday 4 January 2017.

Maritime NZ’s latest Recreational Boating Research is available here:

Boating research

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