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Two accidents in two days show need for care

Two accidents in two days show need for care

Two serious jet-ski accidents in two days illustrate the need for boaties’ care and awareness of their own safety and that of everyone sharing water with them as the summer holidays draw to a close.

Maritime New Zealand investigators will head to Rotorua and Tairua today and tomorrow to investigate two collisions and assist police in their investigations.

The Tairua collision between a jet-ski and an inflatable dinghy resulted in two youths being hospitalised with serious injuries.

The jet-ski had a 16-year-old and 12-year-old on board and the dinghy, powered by an outboard motor, had two 11-year-old boys on board. The collision occurred late on Friday night (January 7).

Rotorua police launched a search and rescue operation yesterday afternoon (January 8) for a missing 17-year-old man after an accident involving two jet skis at about 4pm on Lake Okareka. The search was suspended overnight and will resume today.

Investigations by police and Maritime NZ will clarify the circumstances in each of the incidents, but the overriding message is one of personal responsibility for all those driving and in charge of boats and recreational vessels.

With the risk heightened by the level of activity on the water in summer, especially during the holiday period, Maritime NZ Maritime Safety Inspector Jim Lilley says the responsibility for every boat skipper is paramount.

“The key factors for safe boating are not rocket science. Just as there are rules for the way we operate motor vehicles on our roads, there are rules that follow us out on the water and govern how we operate our vessels, with awareness of others and care for yourself, your passengers and those in the water near you at the top of the list.

“You have all heard about wearing lifejackets, checking the weather forecast, having a reliable means of communication on your person and avoiding alcohol when boating. Out on the water the 5 knot rule provides a safety margin in which vessels are required to slow down to walking pace when they come close to other vessels or swimmers, within 200m of the shore or a dive flag, or if they have passengers bow-riding.”

The same rules require every skipper to maintain a proper lookout and to maintain a safe speed at all times.

“These are the main things anybody out on the water should remember, and everyone should enjoy the rest of their summer holidays and we can avoid any more accidents,” Jim says.

ENDS

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