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Safety reminder follows two weekend fatalities

MEDIA RELEASE
1 February 2005

Safety reminder follows two weekend fatalities

The Maritime Safety Authority says two boating fatalities at the weekend send a clear message to boaties that they must have a way of communicating with rescuers when they get into trouble, and that they must check the weather before heading out on the water.

On Saturday a 14-year-old boy was lost when the small boat he was in capsized in Eastern Bay of Plenty, in bad weather. On Sunday, a man drowned following the capsize of a small boat in the Firth of Thames. It appears the occupants had no communications equipment on them to use to call for help.

Of the 19 recreational boating fatalities in 2004, 10 involved the capsize of small boats.

Director of Maritime Safety Russell Kilvington says people are at their most vulnerable when they are in small, open boats.

“If your boat capsizes and you’re bobbing around 500m offshore, you’re going to either try to swim to shore, or hope that another boat chances along. Neither option is something you’d wish to rely on.

“If you get into trouble, you need to be able to tell someone to come and rescue you, so you must have at least one form of communication equipment on you. This can be as easy as having your mobile phone in a sealed plastic bag in your pocket so you can dial 111 if you find yourself in the water.

“And to avoid getting into trouble in the first place, get to know the weather forecast and if in doubt don’t go out, wear a suitable life jacket at all times, and tell someone where you’re going and what time you’ll be back,” he said.

The Maritime Safety Authority is investigating both accidents.

ENDS

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