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Big Angry Fish takes to the water with lifejackets

Big Angry Fish takes to the water with lifejackets

Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) is taking a new lead to encourage “gung-ho” fishermen to wear lifejackets by sponsoring the popular fishing show Big Angry Fish. The first of 13 episodes screens on TV3 on Sunday, 28 July, at 5.30pm.

The show’s hosts – world-class anglers Milan Radonich and Nathan O’Hearn – will wear a range of lifejackets, including inflatables and the latest “belt bag” lifejackets, whenever they are on the water. They will also role model safe boating practices – checking the weather, being a responsible skipper, and exercising caution when crossing bars.

MNZ’s Education and Communications Manager, Pania Shingleton, says Big Angry Fish will show fishermen being safe on the water while “having fun catching big fish”. She challenges other TV fishing shows and publications to follow suit.

“Research shows that more than 90% of boaties own a lifejacket – they just need to wear them. Even good boaties are at risk of drowning, but if they’re wearing a lifejacket, they’re much more likely to survive if something goes wrong,” says Ms Shingleton.

“We’re using our research results about attitudes and behaviour in the recreational boating sector to inform our safety campaigns, and that’s where Big Angry Fish plays a part: these are real Kiwi blokes, experts in boating and fishing, who recognise that lifejackets help save lives.

“We’re also trying to tackle the attitudes of males aged 40-plus who think drowning only happens to other blokes. Lifejackets save lives – you simply can’t argue with that fact.”

Ms Shingleton says the Big Angry Fish sponsorship is a natural fit with MNZ’s strategy to get all boaties thinking about their safety while on the water. “Male boaties are more likely to put lifejackets on their children and partners than themselves,” she says.

MNZ’s research shows that many men won’t wear lifejackets because they consider them uncomfortable or uncool. “The belt bag lifejackets and inflatables are really small, light and compact,” she says. “They’re ideal for fishermen, because they aren’t bulky and won’t get in the way of enjoying a good day out fishing.”

MNZ has also sponsored a video competition for the Bounty Hunter Fishing Tournament. This asked competitors to channel their “inner Peter Jackson” and create a fishing video that promotes lifejackets and safe boating practices. The public can play a part in the judging by “liking” entries on MNZ’s YouTube channel:


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