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Skipper Responsibility And Lifejackets

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Skipper Responsibility And Lifejackets - Summer Saftey Focus

New Zealand's major boating and water safety organisations will be promoting "skipper responsibility" and "carrying lifejackets" as two key safety themes during the coming recreational boating season.

This strategy was adopted at the first meeting of the National Pleasure Boat Safety Forum convened by the Maritime Safety Authority.

The establishment of the Forum to co-ordinate national boating safety initiatives was one of the principal recommendations of a major report on recreational boating to the Minister of Transport last December.

Russell Kilvington, the Maritime Safety Authority's director and chairman of the Forum, says the person who is in charge of a boat has principal responsibility for its safe handling, maintenance, and safety equipment.

That includes carrying lifejackets and ensuring everybody on board wears one in potentially dangerous situations.

"Too many deaths occur because skippers lack the basic knowledge and skills to prevent dangerous situations developing," he says.

The Maritime Transport Act requires all skippers to act in a safe and responsible manner and all boat owners will be reminded of these responsibilities during a summer campaign to actively promote "skipper responsibility" and "carrying lifejackets".

Recreational boating drownings average about 17 a year, with three-quarters of them involving people not wearing lifejackets.

"That means about 12 drownings a year are preventable by the simple act of wearing a lifejacket," says Mr Kilvington, "and the Forum firmly believes that education is a top priority."

Mr Kilvington says the summer campaign on lifejackets and skipper responsibility will complement a range of ongoing educational safety programmes run by other Forum members.

The Forum's 13 members include the Royal New Zealand Coastguard Federation, the Coastguard Boating Education Service, Water Safety New Zealand, Yachting New Zealand, Regional Councils, arbourmasters, Iwi, the NZ Police, the Boating Industries Association, NZ Underwater Association, and representatives from recreational fishing, personal water craft, and boating interests.

ENDS

Further Information: Education and Communications Manager Lindsay Sturt 04-4730111

Level 8 AMP House. 109 Featherston Street. PO Box 27006 Wellington. New Zealand. Telephone: +64-4-473 0111 Facsimile: +64-4- 473 6699 / +64-4-473 8111 / +64-4-473 0999

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