Busy weekend predicted for Coastguard volunteers
Coastguard volunteers in the northern region are preparing for an increase in calls for help over Auckland Anniversary weekend.
A combination of a three day weekend and favourable forecasts will see tens of thousands of boaties out on the water.
"The weather is forecast to be hot with dry spells and winds from 5 -15 knots across the weekend," says Ray Burge, Operations Manager for Coastguard. "We’re expecting boats of all sizes to be out in force making the most of it."
Calls for help to Coastguard are already up on last year’s figures with 30% of all calls in the last month for emergency situations.
"By far the biggest number of calls we get are to attend mechanical and electrical incidents," says Ray.
"It’s a common trend and reminder for boaties to take the time to prep and check their boat before they head out.
"The last thing you want when you’re enjoying a day on the water is to break down and have to come home early. Getting your engine serviced, checking the water levels in your batteries and ensuring you’ve got enough fuel to get there and back and still have fuel left in the tank are some simple ways to get sorted."
A mechanical incident had the potential to become something a lot more serious if the weather or sea state changed, added Ray.
"The unexpected can happen even to the most experienced of boaties, we advise all boaties to take and wear lifejackets, carry two forms of communication, check their local marine forecast before heading out and become a Coastguard member so that you’ve got peace of mind every time you’re out on the water."
While incidents are on the increase from last year, boating related fatalities are down on the same time last year says Ray. "So far this summer we’ve attended one fatality in the Region over the Christmas Period where a diver got into trouble. It's thanks to the 936 volunteers around the region that Coastguard has been there when kiwis have needed them the most while out enjoying the countries waterways over the holiday period," says Ray.
Key safety messages for this weekend on
• Lifejackets - take them and wear them. They’ve never ruined a day out on the water.
• As the skipper your responsible for everyone on board and getting them home safely at the end of the day
• Take at least two forms of waterproof communication, such as a VHF radio, cell phone in a waterproof bag and flares – if we can’t hear you, we can’t rescue you.
• Whilst the forecast is looking good for many areas it’s essential to check your local marine weather forecast before heading out and be prepared for it to change while you’re out there.