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Rules reinforced as waterways get busy

23 January 2014

If you’re towing someone on Bay of Plenty waterways this long weekend, remember that “it takes 3 to ski”.

Bay of Plenty beaches and lakes are expected to be extra busy this weekend, Auckland Anniversary Weekend, and that means taking extra care, being aware of others and if you’re towing anyone, ensuring you have a lookout on board, Bay of Plenty Regional Council Maritime Operations Manager Reuben Fraser says.

“Maritime staff have been largely pleased with the general behaviour of people who have been enjoying the region’s waterways so far this summer,” Mr Fraser says.

“We want to make sure that safety remains a priority for all people out on the waterways so that everyone can enjoy themselves in a safe manner and we’d like to remind people of the “3 to ski” rule which requires that if they are towing someone – be it on water skis or a biscuit or anything else – they must have an extra person on board to be a spotter.”

Mr Fraser says the wearing of life jackets appears to be on the increase across the region.

“This is great to see, although the incidence of life jacket wearing appears higher on the ocean than on the region’s lakes. Also, in some instances, people are wearing ill-fitting life jackets so we’ve been talking to people about that. We would like to encourage people to wear, rather than just stow, life jackets – they can only save your life if you’re wearing them.”

Volunteer wardens will be joining Regional Council maritime staff to patrol beaches and lakes over the long weekend, keeping an eye on safety and letting people know of the rules if required.

Breaches of the region’s maritime bylaw can result in a $200 fine.

“We prefer educating people to handing out infringements but will do so if needed to ensure safety messages hit home,” Mr Fraser says.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Navigation Safety Bylaw includes rules about vessels towing people, including water skiers, and safe speed.

The bylaw applies to all the waters within the Bay of Plenty Regional Council region.

The rules

Lookouts

• An extra person must be on board any vessel, including a jet ski, which is towing a person, to act as a lookout and be responsible for immediately notifying the person in charge of any mishap that occurs to the person being towed.

• No person may allow themselves to be towed behind a vessel, including a jet ski, unless there is at least one additional person on board to act as a lookout and notify the person in charge of any mishap that occurs.

• A lookout must be 10 years or over.

Restricted Visibility

• No person may operate, between sunset and sunrise, or in restricted visibility, a vessel that is towing any person.

• No person may cause himself or herself to be towed by a vessel between sunset and sunrise.

ENDS

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