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Don’t put your life or others on the line this summer

Don’t put your life or others on the line this summer

Central District Police are strongly encouraging the public to be responsible when taking part in boating activities this summer after a recent search and rescue incident.

Central District Operations Manager Inspector David White said: “Sufficient preparation when undertaking boating activities is very important. Heading out to sea without any life jackets, safety beacon, a radio, or a cellphone is just sheer stupidity.

“Search and rescue staff put their lives on the line when searching for people. At the end of the day anyone in charge of a boat needs to take responsibility for themselves and their passengers, and this means proper safety precautions.”

Yesterday (12 January 2013), at Akitio Beach (85 kilometres southeast of Dannevirke), three Palmerston North men in their 40s, in wetsuits, went diving from an inflatable craft with a small outboard motor. The motor seized while they were diving and the boat went adrift.

Another man known to the men was on shore at the time and had brief visual communication with the men on board and was able to alert Police at 4:30pm. It wasn't long before the inflatable craft was out of sight to those onshore.

The men had no anchor, life jackets, radios, cellphones, or locator beacons on board.

Police mounted a search for the men and received support from a helicopter and some local fishing vessels which were deployed at 4:45pm that day. One of the local search vessels located the inflatable with all three men on board at 5:15pm the same day. The inflatable had drifted five kilometres out to sea. None of the men were injured.

“Very strong north westerly winds could have carried the inflatable a long way out to sea. I would like to thank all of those who helped in the search for the men.

"Water safety is crucial and needs to be strongly considered before participating in any water activities.

“Your family, friends, and Police want you home safely at the end of the day.

Don’t put yours or your mates lives at risk, remember to take responsibility and take lifesaving equipment such as life jackets, a radio, and safety beacons on board when you’re out on the water", said Inspector White.

ENDS

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