Maritime NZ urges Nelson water users to put safety first on Anniversary Weekend

28 January 2022

Maritime NZ is urging Nelson-Tasman boaties to make safety a priority this Anniversary Weekend.

Acting Southern Compliance Manager John Drury says it will be busy with boaties, swimmers, jetskis and paddleboarders sharing the water.

This weekend, Maritime NZ and the Nelson Harbourmaster are undertaking No Excuses days to check how boaties are following the rules with a focus on lifejackets and speed.

Drury says speed is a known issue around Nelson. “The faster you go, the less time you have to avoid collisions.”

The maximum speed permitted for all boats is 5 knots – about 9 kilometres an hour – within 200 metres of shore and within 50 metres of any other boat or swimmer.

Boaties should stay clear of shipping. Drury recommends tuning into VHF Channel 12 or checking the shipping schedule on Nelson Port’s website.

Knowing the weather conditions before you head out is also crucial as conditions can change quickly. MetService provides marine forecasts for the Nelson region and Port Nelson has real-time sea conditions on its website.

Finally, check your boat and gear. “Coastguard gets lots of calls for easily-prevented issues like boats running out of fuel or engines failing. A few minutes checking your equipment could be a lifesaver...literally.”

Drury says boaties can expect to see the No Excuses team in Okiwi Bay and Nelson over the weekend. The team will be at boat ramps before sunrise checking navigation lights to ensure people have the correct lights before heading out.

The Boating Safety Code

Wear your lifejacket – lifejackets are compulsory in the Nelson region for all vessels under 6 metres in length.

Take two waterproof ways to call for help – a VHF or distress beacon are your best options.

Check the marine weather forecast

Avoid alcohol – keep your drinking on dry land and only boat if you’re sober.

Be a responsible skipper –make sure your mates are wearing lifejackets that fit. Brush up on the local bylaws on the Nelson City Council’s website: http://www.nelson.govt.nz/council/bylaws/bylaw-218-navigation-safety/.

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