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Lifejackets – no excuses

Media Release
4 December 2019

Lifejackets – no excuses

With summer in full flow with beautiful long days and heat pushing families to the water, it’s time to remember to wear lifejackets.

Hawke’s Bay’s Harbourmaster, Captain Martin Moore, says lifejackets save lives, and there’s no excuse for not wearing them.

“Most accidents happen without warning on vessels that are 6m or less, so there’s not much time to grab a lifejacket, let alone put it on,” says Martin. 

On average, each year 19 or 20 people die in recreational boating accidents in New Zealand waters. Research shows that not wearing a lifejacket is the leading risk factor, and other key risks include not carrying two forms of waterproof communications, not checking the weather, and drinking alcohol.

“Even one boatie drowning on our waters is too many, and we can reduce that number so easily if everyone wears lifejackets, takes two waterproof ways to call for help, checks the weather forecast, and avoids alcohol.”

Skippers are legally responsible for carrying a correctly-sized lifejacket for each person on board, and making sure they are worn on any vessel at times of heightened danger, such as in high waves. Maritime rules require the skipper to ensure that lifejackets are worn in situations of heightened risk, such as when crossing a bar, in rough water, during an emergency, and by non-swimmers.

“Before you get a lifejacket think about what you’ll use it for, because it’s important to have the right type. Consider the type of water activity you do, the distance from shore you intend to go, and the kinds of conditions you are likely to encounter,” says Martin

For more information about safety on the water head to hbrc.govt.nz and search #harbourmaster.

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