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

Bullish On China Shopping: Trade Minister On Premier's Visit

Q+A: Trade Minister Todd McClay – not ruling out a conversation around Chinese workers coming to New Zealand to work on infrastructure projects as part of trade talks:

‘Yeah, well, that’s not something that’s on the table at the moment, but, look, what we’ve agreed as part of the, you know, when we start the upgrade negotiation, both sides can raise issues that are of importance to them. We’ve got a list of things we want to talk about. China may well have.’ More>>

 

Little Heading For Court: Apology Over Donation/Hotel Contract Claims Not Accepted

Today I want to publicly apologise unreservedly to Mr Hagaman for any hurt, embarrassment or adverse reflection on his reputation which may have resulted from my various media statements. I have offered that apology to the Hagamans. More>>

ALSO:

Biscuit Tin Of Democracy: World Heritage Site Protection, Ombudsman and Equal Pay Bills Drawn

On Thursday, 23 March 2017 three places are available on the Order Paper for the first reading of a Member’s bill. The ballot was held, and resulted in the following bills being drawn... More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Plan: NZ Needs More Science, More Trees, Fewer Beasts

A combination of technology breakthroughs, much more plantation forestry, and a big switch away from pastoral, particularly dairy farming, are identified as the key elements of any approach New Zealand takes to reducing its carbon emissions to a net zero level, according to a new report sponsored by the New Zealand chapter of GLOBE, a multi-party, global parliamentary grouping. More>>

ALSO:

"Backed To Win Seats": Labour Māori Seat MPs Won't Stand On List

The Labour Party is backing a request from its Māori seat MPs to stand as electorate MPs only, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. More>>

OutsKey: John Key's Valedictory Speech

I rise to address this House for the very last time. It has been a huge privilege to have served the people of Helensville as their member of Parliament, and, of course, the people of New Zealand as their Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Productivity Commission: New Models Of Tertiary Education Are Coming

The report is a broad-ranging inquiry into how well New Zealand’s tertiary education system is set up to respond to emerging trends in technology and the internationalisation of education, and changes in the structure of the population, and the skills needed in the economy and society... More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: Water Everywhere

Monday's Post-Cabinet press conference focused on water, with the Prime Minister fielding questions about the possibility pricing water taken for export. Mr English said the government was directing their water allocation technical advisory group to include export water in considerations. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news