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Police Urge Kayakers to Observe Conditions

Police Urge Kayakers to Observe Conditions

Wellington Maritime Police are urging all those contemplating adventures in kayaks this holiday to pay particular attention to the weather and know the limitations of themselves and their craft, after 11 kayakers within a 36 hour period found themselves in situations beyond their skills and capabilities of their craft due to strong winds in and around Wellington. All have sparked call outs for emergency services with one incident requiring the Police launch Lady Elizabeth III, Coastguard Spirit of Wellington, Westpac Rescue Helicopter and Police Patrol staff from Lower Hutt to be called out says Andrew Cox of the Wellington Police Maritime unit.

To add to this, another two kayakers had to be given advice not to head out even after they had seen the Police RHIB returning 4 kayakers safely to land in Wellington Harbour and with the wind and sea conditions clearly not suitable for the kayak they were heading out in. A clear lack of understanding of the weather and sea conditions has been one of the main causes for all of the incidents with another being inexperience. Constable Cox says none of those involved have been idiots just over keen individuals anxious to get on the water but without the eagle eyes of some Wellington residents a couple of these kayakers could have found themselves in much worse predicaments.

Some basic precautions can and do prevent most incidents. Check the weather, know the limitations of your craft and your own skills, carry basic emergency gear (radio, flares, lifejackets etc) and tell someone where you are going and when you will be back as a minimum. Another great thing is to attend a boating education course.


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