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

 


Barry Always Has One Eye On The Water

Barry Always Has One Eye On The Water
For immediate release 14 January 2013

Volunteer maritime warden Barry Benton is pretty much on duty 24/7.

He lives on the waterfront at Maungatapu and even if he’s not officially on duty for the Bay of Plenty Regional Council he’s got one eye on the water. If he sees a problem or situation arise, he’ll head out to intervene.

This summer the Regional Council is focused on improving the behaviour of jet ski users on Bay of Plenty waterways. As the number of jet skis has increased in recent years, so have the number of accidents, incidents and near misses across the region. Most jet ski incidents in the Bay of Plenty involve males aged about 17 to 30.

They’re as powerful and as fast as a car but under current laws anyone 15 and over can be in charge of a jet ski, no licence required.

Mr Benton says he often comes across people with new jet skis who do not know how to operate them properly or don’t know the rules. Sometimes he believes people simply say they don’t know the rules because they’ve been “busted”.

Speeding near the shore and other water users is the most common breach of the rules when it comes to jet skis. Within 200 m of shore or 50 m of other water users, jet skis must keep to a 5 knot speed limit, just like boats.

“A lot of jet ski users who we catch speeding are just hooning around.”

Mr Benton has been a volunteer in the Bay of Plenty for more than 30 years for the Port of Tauranga and now the Regional Council, keeping an eye on the area between Maungatapu and Omokoroa. He also helps out at Lake Rotoiti near Rotorua where he and his family holiday.

In that time he’s seen a huge increase in the number of jet skis on Bay of Plenty waterways.

“They’re more affordable now and very economical to operate. They’re also fast and manoeuvrable and people like that but that makes them potentially dangerous. It’s like a motorbike – if you don’t have the skills to ride it properly, you’re going to put yourself and others at risk,” he says.

Anyone out on the water who disobeys the rules is putting others at risk and preventing that is Mr Benton’s main motivation.

“When my family and I are out on the water I want to feel safe. For me, being a warden is all about making the waterways safer for everybody. We’re coming into the busiest time and we don’t want anything bad happening.”

A retired motor mechanic who ran his own business, Mr Benton has “seen it all” during his time as a warden.

“I have seen accidents and picked up bodies and that sort of thing makes you very aware that doing whatever you do on the water safely is the most important thing. We go out on the water to have a good time, not to end up in hospital or the morgue.”

Mr Benton says in his experience, accidents on the water generally come down to either stupidity, people not knowing what to do or people simply disobeying the rules.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Harbourmaster – Western Bay of Plenty, Jennifer Roberts says with such a huge influx of people on Bay of Plenty beaches every summer, bad behaviour puts people at risk.

“Jet skis must obey the same rules as other boats and anyone who breaches these rules can be fined or even prosecuted.

“Our maritime team will be out in force all summer spreading the safety first message and encouraging all jet skiers and boaties to wear life jackets, not just stow them on board,” she says.

“We want everyone to have fun but safety must come first.”

This summer’s Bay of Plenty Regional Council jet ski safety campaign has the support of Tauranga-based professional surfer Matt Hewitt and Olympic kayaker Luuka Jones, who hails from the Western Bay of Plenty and participates in surf lifesaving in summer.

The whanau of Rotorua teenager Bishop Thompson, who was killed as a result of a jet ski accident on Lake Okareka in January 2011, are also supportive and will be involved in the campaign.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council | Phone: 0800 884 880
Web: www.boprc.govt.nz | Facebook: www.facebook.com/boprc | Twitter: www.twitter.com/boprc | YouTube: www.youtube.com/bopregionalcouncil

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Farcical Elevation Of David Seymour

With the election won, it’s time to find jobs for the boy. David Seymour is the Act Party’s latest scrounger to be rewarded by the National Party, and not only with a seat in Parliament. This time around, a couple of parliamentary Undersecretary posts in education and regulatory reform have been thrown in, plus an annual salary of $175,000 while he learns the ropes. Shouldn’t Seymour at least be put on a 90 day trial before he gets his hands on that sort of serious moolah?

It would be for his own good, really. At this rate, Act is never going to learn how to make its own way in the world More>>

 

As Key Mulls Joining ISIS Fighting: McCully Speech To UN Backs Security Council Bid

It is an honour to address you today on behalf of the Prime Minister and Government of New Zealand. Our General Election took place last week - our Prime Minister Rt Hon John Key is engaged in forming a government and that is why he is unable to be here in New York... More>>

ALSO:

Labour: Cunliffe Triggers Party Wide Leadership Contest

David Cunliffe has resigned as Labour Leader, but says he will seek re-election... If there is any contest the election will have to go through a process involving the party membership and union affiliates. More>>

ALSO:

Flyover Appeal: Progress And Certainty, Or Confusion And More Delays?

Lindsay Shelton: The Transport Agency, embarrassed by the rejection of its flyover alongside the Basin Reserve, says it’s appealing because the decision could “constrain progress.” Yet for most clear-sighted Wellingtonians a 300-metre-long concrete structure above Kent and Cambridge Terraces would in no way be seen as progress… More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Cunliffe’s Last Stand

Right now, embattled Labour leader David Cunliffe has three options. None of them are particularly attractive for him personally, or for the Labour Party... More>>

ALSO:

Key Seeking 'New Ideas': Look To Children’s Commissioner On Poverty - Greens

John Key should not reinvent the wheel when it comes to ideas for tackling child poverty, and instead look to the recommendations of the Children’s Commissioner’s Expert Group on Child Poverty, Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says. More>>

ALSO:

'Safe To Re-Enter' - OIA Docs: Safety Is Absolute Priority At Pike River Mine

“We understand that the time it is taking to complete our evaluation of the risks is frustrating for the family members and we are trying to complete this work as quickly as we can,” Ms Dunphy says. “It is Solid Energy’s responsibility to make this decision and we will do so, once we have all the information required to make a fully-informed decision.” More>>

ALSO:

Images & Report: Mihi To Welcome Newly-Elected MPs To Parliament

The 29 newly elected MPs were welcomed into Parliament with a Mihi. Parliament’s current Speaker David Carter offered advice from his experience working in Parliament advising the MPs to work collaboratively. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Very Bad Year

While Labour leader David Cunliffe still appears to be in denial about the extent of Saturday night’s debacle, there was hardly a single redeeming feature about the election results for the centre-left... More>>

ALSO:

General Election NZ: National Win

Election Night: With almost all votes counted National and John Key have won a third term and are close to being able to govern alone if they so choose. Key has indicated he will still reach out to form a Government with ACT, United Future and Maori Party. More>>

ALSO:

Perfectly-Timed Anniversaries: Suffrage Day Is Last Chance To Enrol

“The last chance to enrol is Friday 19 September. You can’t enrol on election day.” More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
More RSS  RSS
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news