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Proposal to strengthen rules on lifejackets

Media Release

3 December 2013

Proposal to strengthen rules on lifejackets

Auckland Council is proposing to include a new rule in its navigation safety bylaw that would make it mandatory to wear a life jacket when on a vessel under six metres.

At its meeting today, the Regulatory and Bylaws Committee recommended that the Governing Body include the proposal in the draft navigation safety bylaw which will be consulted on in early 2014.

The current bylaw requires compulsory carriage of a sufficient number of lifejackets for those on board and that they are worn if instructed by the skipper.

Committee chair Councillor Calum Penrose says the proposal is aimed at reducing preventable drowning.

“There have been some tragic incidents on small craft in Auckland waters, where had people been wearing a lifejacket – they may still be alive today.

“We have had a strong direction from our local boards to canvas the issue with the community. We also know that some boaties may have differing views so I encourage everyone to have their say through the consultation process.”

Councillor Penrose acknowledges that changing the rules is only one part of the puzzle and that if adopted, it will need to be coupled with wide spread education.

Also being proposed for inclusion in the draft bylaw in an effort to support public safety is:

• Compulsory carrying of a means of communication

• Prohibition of anyone being in charge of a vessel being incapacitated due to alcohol or dugs

• Improved management of moorings sites to ensure quality of moorings and identifying those that have been abandoned.

Auckland Council inherited the Auckland Regional Council Navigation Safety Bylaw 2008, which set out the rules governing navigational safety of all craft and persons on waters (including inland lakes) within the Auckland Region including in the use of personal flotation devices.

The review is part of a wider programme requiring the council to review all its bylaws by October 2015.

The Governing Body has the authority to make a bylaw and needs to approve proposed bylaws to be released for public consultation.

It will consider the recommendations at its meeting on 19 December and the proposed bylaw, including any further changes, will be consulted on in early 2014.

A copy of the Regulatory and Bylaws Committee report, including some of the research and the draft proposals can viewed on the council’s website.

ENDS

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