Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Take care, keep proper watch, use dive flags boaties told

Date: 18 December, 2012

Take care, keep proper watch, use dive flags boaties told

People heading out on the water in Northland over summer are being urged to take extra care, keep a proper watch and make sure they fly dive flags if they have divers in the water.

Chidambaram Surendran, the Northland Regional Council’s Deputy Harbourmaster, says the Christmas/New Year period is an especially busy one in and around the Northland coast.

He says regional council maritime staff agree with Northland-based police Search and Rescue members that there are a number of simple steps boaties can take to keep themselves and their loved ones safe on the water.

These include ensuring boats are well maintained and serviced, especially if they have been unused over the winter.

“Avoiding alcohol, wearing lifejackets, checking the weather forecast, letting someone know where you are going and ensuring you have proper means of communications on board in case something goes wrong all make for safer boating.”

Mr Surendran says at a meeting earlier this month, Northland police told regional council staff they had responded to 320 calls for assistance in incidents involving almost 600 people during the 2011/12 financial year, with summer the busiest time for local police Search and Rescue staff.

Over the same year-long period, 14 people had drowned in Northland; twice the road toll. At the time of the meeting earlier this month, 16 people had lost their lives on the roads so far this year, compared to five drownings.

Mr Surendran says of particular concern to the regional council, is incorrect or non-use of the dive flags by boaties and divers.

In recent months a number of skippers had been forced to take evasive action to avoid divers because flags were nowhere to be seen or dive boats were not near their divers.

Mr Surendran says it’s vital for the safety of all parties that it’s clearly signalled when divers are in the water as divers risk serious injury or even death if hit by other boats or their propellers, especially if the vessels are travelling at speed.

He says under Northland Regional Council bylaws, a dive flag must be displayed so it’s clearly visible from another vessel 200 metres away.

“The blue and white flag needs to be at least 60cm by 60cm in size and divers have a responsibility to ensure it is flying before they enter the water.”

The dive boat must also be within 200 metres of the divers at all times and be prepared to help quickly if needed. “Divers too have an equal role to play in ensuring they stay within 200 metres of their boat.”

Mr Surendran says other vessels should keep a good lookout for divers and not exceed five knots within 200 metres of a vessel flying a dive flag.

Similarly, it’s important to keep a proper watch and preferably not use automatic steering within harbour limits. He was aware of at least one case this year where a fishing vessel had narrowly missed a stationary boat, while making way with no-one apparently keeping a proper lookout.

“Automatic steering may only be used if a helmsman is standing-by next to the helm. For all vessels, do not leave the helm position, or allow attention to be diverted, while the vessel is moving.”

Mr Surendran says in recent months several buoys and beacons had also been damaged in the busy Whangarei Harbour after being struck by vessels. Again, a proper watch should avoid many such incidents.

“However, if a collision does occur with an aid to navigation (with or without apparent damage), the incident should be reported to the harbourmaster, and/or harbour radio or the closest coastguard or local radio station; it’s an offence not to report.”

An initial call can be made to the regional council’s 24/7 hotline 0800 504 639 and a written report must also be completed within 48 hours.

Mr Surendran says failure to report such incidents may place other vessels in danger, particularly in the Whangarei and Bay of Islands Harbours, where the safety of large ships could be at risk if navigation aids are damaged.

Similarly, he says outriggers, stabilisers, davits and other equipment over the side should also preferably be retracted when in a harbour to prevent damage to navigation aids. “If not, sufficient clear distance must be maintained from navigational aids and other vessels. Outriggers must always be stowed when a vessel is alongside.”

Mr Surendran says information and tips on how to stay safe on the water in Northland is available from the regional council’s website via: www.nrc.govt.nz/safeboating

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Regulators: Govt To ‘Crowd-Source’ Regulatory Advice

A wide-ranging set of reforms is to be implemented to shake up the way New Zealand government agencies develop, write and implement regulations. More>>

ALSO:

Board Appointments: Some Minister Appoint Less The 3 In 10 Women

“It’s 2015 not 1915: Ministers who appoint less than 3 in 10 women to their boards must do better, they have no excuse but to do better,” said Dr Blue. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The 1990s Retro Proposals For Our Health System

As we learned yesterday, the reviews propose that the democratically elected representation on DHBs should be reduced, such that community wishes will be able to be over-ridden by political appointees. In today’s revelations, the reviews also propose a return to the destructive competitive health model of the 1990s. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Cab Press Conference: Foreign Buyers Register, TPP And Serco

At a press conference today in Wellington, John Key discussed the foreign buyers register as well as the TPP and Serco. Key was questioned on whether a stamp tax might be used as a tool to deal with foreign buyers. More>>

ALSO:

Lyndon Hood Satire: Serco To Outsource Prison To Public Sector

In response to high-profile failings, multinational omnicorporation Serco will introduce public management in its prison system. Serco's New Zealand manager, speaking on condition of anonymity, has announced plans for managers from the Department of Corrections to run the Mt Eden Correctional Facility. More>>

National Party Conference: Plans To Nudge Immigrants Towards Regions

The Government will introduce a package of immigration measures aimed at improving the spread of workers, skills and investment across New Zealand, Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse says. More>>

ALSO:

Corrections: Serco Relieved Of Control At Mt Eden Prison, Retains Contract

Multi-national private prison operator Serco has been forced to hand back control of Auckland's Mt Eden remand prison to the Department of Corrections, which has used a 'step-in' clause in its contract with Serco following a string of increasingly serious allegations about contraband, prisoner injuries and a death. More>>

ALSO:

Other Experiments: Failing Charter School Stays Open 'For Kids'

Education Minister Hekia Parata says she has given Te Pumanawa o te Wairua in Northland a chance to continue operating because of her concerns about finding other educational opportunities for its students. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS News AlertsNews Alerts
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news