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Urgency called for on lifejacket bylaw review

Press Release
23 September 2013

Urgency called for on lifejacket bylaw review

An independent bylaw making the wearing of lifejackets on small boats compulsory could be one step closer tomorrow with a deputation to the Auckland Council Regulatory and Bylaws Committee.

WaterSafe Auckland and Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board Member Tunumafono Ava Fa’amoe will present to the Committee results of extensive consultation with Auckland’s Pacific, aquatic and boating communities supporting the introduction of a lifejacket regulation, as currently in place in a number of New Zealand Council / District Council jurisdictions.

Auckland Council is currently reviewing all Navigation Safety Bylaws but it is hoped that the Committee will consider the separation of the lifejacket bylaw from the wider review, a move supported by 18 of Auckland’s 21 Local Boards.

“There is matter of urgency with this particular bylaw,” says member Fa’amoe. “We wish to avoid further loss of lives on our waters but due to the number and complexities of the issues to be dealt with in the wider review are concerned at any delays in the consultation process if this does not stand alone.”

“We believe that this would also create greater awareness of the bylaw with opportunities for education around lifejacket use,” says WaterSafe Auckland CEO Sandy Harrop. “The current bylaw only requires lifejackets to be carried but worn at times of risk or when the skipper says so, but many of these drownings could have been avoided if persons going out in small boats actually wore them.”

The drive for a local bylaw change is an effort to prevent further boating-related drowning deaths[i] [particularly among Auckland’s Pacific men] where, for a variety of reasons, persons found themselves in the water, but weren’t wearing lifejackets and drowned.

The Public Meeting of the Regulatory and Bylaws Committee will be held at 2pm, Tuesday 24 September, in the Committee Meeting Room, Civic 15, 1 Greys Avenue, Auckland.

-End-

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