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Boaties must take care near swimmers

Media Release

Release date: Wednesday, 29 December 2010
Fitzherbert Street , Gisborne , New Zealand .

Boaties must take care near swimmers

With summer in full swing Gisborne and East Coast beaches are full of people making the most of the water. Toys have been dusted off and jet skis, water skis, sea biscuits and boats are skimming over the waves. With so many people in the water it is important boats and jet skis take care particularly around beaches popular with swimmers.

A maximum speed of 5 knots (9km/hr) for jet skis or any boat towing water skiers and biscuits within 200 metres of shore or on rivers is stipulated in Gisborne District Council’s Navigation Safety bylaw. This is also the maximum speed within 50 metres of another craft or people in the water. An observer must be on board during towing or water skiing activities.

Council urges all boaties to use common sense especially close to shore and where swimmers are present

Last year a child swimming at Waikanae beach was nearly decapitated when a boat towing a sea biscuit was travelling in excess of 40km/hr with 50 metres of the shore. The child was standing in the water between the boat and the biscuit and had to duck under the water to avoid being decapitated by the rope. Infringement fines were issued to the driver.

“This incident highlights the need for boaties to take care. Particularly with speed and closeness to the shore," says Sarwan Kumar, regulatory services manager. "It is very hard for drivers to see people in the water when they are travelling at speed."

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“Surf lifesavers patrolling our beaches this year are Council’s eyes and ears monitoring boat and jet ski behaviour. Their primary role is to advise and educate beach users. However they will respond to anyone not complying with the bylaw and call the police if needed. If they approach you please listen and do what they say – they are there to help you keep safe.”

Visitors and residents are reminded that to use a jet ski in the Gisborne district it must be registered with Council. Registration is free and enables Council to monitor jet ski activity. Jet skis must display a unique identification number on both sides of the craft. The registration form is available from Council’s website or Customer Services in Fitzherbert Street or Te Puia Springs.

There are designated Jet Ski areas beyond Midway Beach identified by orange posts and signs on the beach. Keep a safe distance from swimmers and surfers and stay 200 metres away from the waters edge.

• Don't drink and boat or jet ski
• Wear your lifejacket at all times.
• Don't overload the boat, it could capsize
• Don’t tow anyone on your jet ski
• Tell someone what your plans are before heading out on to the water.
• If you are water skiing, you must have an observer, not just the driver, on the boat.


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