Have two forms of communication and stay with your boat
Have two forms of communication and stay with your boat message following Waikato River rescue
Thursday, 3 October 2013 - 2:47pm
Make sure your boat is fit for the water and stay with it in case you get into difficulty are the messages from Hamilton Police and the Coastguard following a rescue on the Waikato River this morning.
Shift Manager, Senior Sergeant Andy Bu Bear, said Police and the Fire Service were called to the river just after 11am after calls from the public about a man in difficulty in the water.
"It turned out a man had been out on a wooden dingy with his two children when his outboard motor stopped.
"Dropping his anchor to hold the boat in place, the man has tried to then swim a rope to shore to bring the boat and his children ashore but has got into difficulty and was reported by members of the public calling 111 to be crying out for help in the water."
Mr Bu Bear said when he realised he was in difficulty the man was unable to get back into the boat because of the current and arriving fire fighters threw the him a life preserver.
"The Hamilton Police rescue boat was deployed and brought the boat and the children to shore, fortunately both children were wearing life jackets but their father was not.
"On reflection it would have been better for him to have called 111 and reported his boat being in difficulty and remained in the vessel instead of putting himself at risk. With the weather improving and the onset of daylight saving this incident could be a good catalyst to encourage boat owners to ensure their vessels are in good condition before heading out on the water."
Coastguard Boating Eductation Training Administrator, Heather Murray, said it was great the man had a phone with him, but two forms of communications are recommended, including a VHF radio, that when used can be heard by more than one person.
"If you get into difficulty call for help on VHF radio or mobile phone and wait in the boat, only enter the water as a last resort.
"It's fantastic the children were wearing life jackets, but he had one too - but wasn’t wearing it. Always set a good example to your children, by wearing a life jacket and take a secondary form of propulsion oars or a paddle so if you have an engine problem you can paddle to shore or anchor in shallower water."
Boat owners are encouraged to visit www.boatingeducation.org.nz where the Coastguard offers Boating Education courses like Day Skipper, which aim to give boaties knowledge to help prevent incidents like today's from happening.