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Safer Boating Week launched with a splash


Martime NZ Director Keith Manch, right, leads representatives of the Safer Boating Forum in a leap into Wellington Harbour to mark the start of Safer Boating Week.

Safer Boating Week launched with a splash

16 October 2015

Safer Boating Week began today (Friday, 16 October) with a bit of fun underlining a serious message.

Last year 27 people died in recreational boating accidents and today 27 representatives from the Safer Boating Forum* took the plunge into Wellington Harbour - all wearing lifejackets - to remember those who have died.

To date this year, another 16 boaties have died.

“Compounding these tragedies is that two-thirds of the people are likely to have survived if they had worn lifejackets,” Maritime New Zealand Director Keith Manch said.

“More than 90 per cent of people who die while recreational boating are men. Every one of them was a father, brother, son, husband and friend.

“Such deaths are devastating to the families and communities involved, and in many cases could be prevented by following basic safe boating rules, including wearing lifejackets,” Mr Manch said.

“Safer Boating Week is about boaties taking simple steps to prepare before going out on the water so they avoid problems, and if problems arise, they are more likely to survive.

“If you are on the water when you discover a problem with your boat or equipment, or that you do not know an important safety rule, then it is too late and people are in danger.”

Thankfully, boating safety behaviour seems to be improving. In a recent survey 78 per cent of boaties said they always wear a lifejacket on the water, and 60 per cent said they always wear life jackets and ensure others on their boat do too.

Safer boating key messages

The three key Safer Boating Week messages are all about what to do before going on the water:

Prep your boat – service the engine, check and change the fuel, check the battery and just generally give the boat a good onceover.

Check your gear – make sure your lifejackets are still fit for purpose and you have enough. Service any inflatable lifejackets and ensure you have two reliable forms of communication equipment.

Know the rules – ensure you know the “rules of the road” on the water, and check your local bylaws to make sure you understand what the requirements are in your area.

For lots more information about safer boating visit:

• Facebook “Safer Boating NZ

• Website www.saferboating.org.nz

Wharf jump participants

Taking the plunge today were representatives from ACC, Civil Aviation Authority, Coastguard, Ferg's Kayaks, Greater Wellington Regional Council, Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers, Maritime NZ, MetService, New Zealand Defence Force, New Zealand Search and Rescue, New Zealand Underwater Association, Police, Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club, Surf Life Saving New Zealand, Waikato Regional Council, Water Safety New Zealand and Wellington City Council.

The Harbour Master, Police, Surf Life Saving NZ and Coastguard are providing safety boats, and Greater Wellington Regional Council is holding a water safety display at the wharf.

* Safer Boating Forum

The Safer Boating Forum was established in 2000 to coordinate and implement recreational boating safety initiatives. It is made up of government agencies and local government, water safety and recreational boating organisations, and the marine industry. The Forum's work is aimed at reducing boating injuries and fatalities and improving boat safety behaviour. Maritime NZ chairs the Forum and members include Coastguard, Jet Boating NZ, Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers, local and central government, NZ Fishing News, NZ Jet Sports Boating Association, NZ Marine Industry Association, NZ Underwater Association, Surf Lifesaving NZ, Waka Ama NZ, Water Safety NZ, WaterSafe Auckland, White Water NZ, and Yachting NZ.

- ENDS -


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