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 Drone Strikes And Judith Collins‘ Last Stand

The news that a New Zealand citizen was killed last November in a US drone attack in Yemen brings the drones controversy closer to home.

To the US, drones are a legitimate response to the threat posed by the al Qaeda organisation and its franchisees... To the US, the drones carry the added advantage of not putting US troops at risk on the ground, and minimises the need for putting them in large numbers in bases in the countries concerned, always a politically sensitive point.

The counter-argument, well articulated by security analyst Paul Buchanan on RNZ this morning, is that this particular drone attack can be said to amount to an extra-judicial execution of a New Zealand citizen by one of our military allies, in circumstances where the person concerned posed no threat to New Zealand’s domestic security. More>>

 

Parliament Today:

Policies: Labour’s Economic Upgrade For Manufacturing

Labour Leader David Cunliffe has today announced his Economic Upgrade for the manufacturing sector – a plan that will create better jobs and higher wages. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Life And ACC Work Of Sir Owen Woodhouse

With the death of Sir Owen Woodhouse, the founding father of the Accident Compensation Scheme, New Zealand has lost one of the titans of its post-war social policy. More>>

ALSO:

Bad Transnationals: Rio Tinto Wins 2013 Roger Award

It won the 2011 Roger Award and was runner up in 2012, 2009 and 08. One 2013 nomination said simply and in its entirety: “Blackmailing country”... More>>

ALSO:

Select Committees: Tobacco Plain Packaging Hearings

The Stroke Foundation is today backing the Cancer Society and Smokefree Coalition who are making oral submissions to the Health Select Committee in support of proposed legislation to remove of all branding from tobacco products. More>>

ALSO:

Milk: Oravida Asked For Cabinet Help

New evidence released by New Zealand First today reveals Justice Minister Judith Collins used her position to manipulate the Government to help her husband’s company, Oravida, after the Fonterra botulism scare, says New Zealand First Leader Rt Hon Winston Peters. More>>

ALSO:

With Conditions: Ruataniwha Consents Approved In Draft Decision

The Tukituki Catchment Proposal Board of Inquiry has granted 17 resource consents relating to the $265 million Ruataniwha Water Storage Scheme in a draft decision that would open more of the Hawke’s Bay to irrigation. More>>

ALSO:

Fast Lanes, Campervans: Labour 'Making The Holidays Easier For Kiwi Drivers'

The next Labour Government will make the holidays easier and journeys quicker for Kiwi families driving on the roads, says Labour Leader David Cunliffe. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Royalty And Its Tourism Spin-Offs

Ultimately the Queen’s longevity has been one of her most significant accomplishments. A transition to Prince Charles while the monarchy was in the pits of public esteem in the mid to late 1990s would have been disastrous for the Royal Firm. Far more congenial representatives have now emerged... More>>

ALSO:

Privacy (Again): ACC Demands Excessive Privacy Waivers

Labour: “This is just another example of ACC under National deliberately acting to deny treatment and compensation... Those who did fill in the form have effectively been victims of yet another ACC privacy breach. This time Judith Collins knew it was happening..." More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news