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Skipper discretion on lifejackets proposed

Media release
6 June 2014

Skipper discretion on lifejackets proposed

An Auckland Council hearing’s panel has recommended people heading out to sea on small boats will have to wear a life jacket but with the skipper making the call when they can be removed.

Councillors were today deliberating the draft Navigation Safety Bylaw which included a proposal that lifejackets would have to be worn at all times on boats of six metres or less.

“The purpose of the proposal around lifejackets was driven by concern from our local boards and communities of the number of people drowning who were not wearing lifejackets, so we put it out there to get the public’s views,” said hearings panel chair, Councillor Calum Penrose.

Around 80 per cent of the 395 submitters raised concerns around the mandatory wearing of lifejackets proposal, many from the boating community who found the proposal too restrictive.

“In the end I think we have come to a good middle ground which puts the responsibility back on the skipper while also reducing the risk of preventable drownings.”

The panel’s recommendations will be presented to the Governing Body, who will make the final decision on the bylaw.

Among other recommendations were:
• That an integrated education programme be developed for the implementation for the bylaw
• That a letter be sent to the Minister of Transport requesting an urgent amendment to the transport Act to make it an offence for a person “be in charge of a recreational vessel while under the influence of alcohol or a drug, or both, to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the vessel.

The hearings report can be found on council’s website.


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