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Summer’s coming - keep on wearing lifejackets

Summer’s coming - keep on wearing lifejackets, get more VHF radios

3 November 2017

With summer approaching, research published today confirms that boaties are doing well and heeding messages to wear lifejackets, though more should have waterproof ways to call for help.

Maritime NZ Director, Keith Manch, said that the 2017 IPSOS research surveyed boaties’ safety behaviours, participation and uptake of safety equipment.

Maritime NZ also launched a new interactive infographic of the research today on its website which will be a useful safety tool for safer boating organisations, regional councils and the public keen to know more about how boaties behave on the water.

The research shows more than three-quarters of boaties wear their lifejackets all, or most of the time, on the water, while about half take two waterproof ways to call for help.

“It’s evidence like this that informs the Safer Boating Forum’s* campaigns,” Mr Manch said.

These results also align with the on-the-water observational “No Excuses” survey done last summer by Maritime NZ and habour masters which showed even higher levels of lifejacket wear at 90%.

“This summer we want boaties to keep up their good lifejacket behavior and increase their use of communications, particularly by taking a waterproof VHF radio.

“Lifejackets help you float and unquestionably save lives, but if you can’t call for help, we can’t rescue you. You really need both. A marine VHF radio is usually best and a distress beacon is also vital for most boaties.”

Nearly one in every two Kiwi boaties (1.4 million adults) were involved in recreational boating last summer. In 2014, about a third of the adult population said they were boaties (42% in 2017).

The most popular craft used by boaties are kayaks (32%) and then power boats under six metres (21%). Kayakers are also the youngest group – 48 percent are aged 18 to 34 compared to 35 percent of people using power boats under six metres.

Mr Manch said it was also positive that annual recreational boating fatalities have decreased in the past two years. The fatalities were: 2014, 27: 2015, 24: 2016: 13 and 2017: 12 to date.


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