Wednesday, November 22, 2017
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Stay safe in the water this summer

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Nobody’s faster than disaster – that’s the motto Maritime NZ wants boaties to keep in mind this summer.

Maritime NZ is reminding boaties to take care on the water with two fatalities reported in the official holiday period between 4pm on Friday December 2, 2016 and 6am on Wednesday January 04, 2017.

“Make safety a priority when you’re boating this summer,” says Maritime NZ’s education and communications manager Pania Shingleton. “We ask that boaties remember the safety basics.”

The two reported fatalities include a 68-year-old male who drowned on Boxing Day while kayaking near Donut Island, off the Whangamata Coast, and a 75-year-old woman drowned on January 2 after falling off a boat in Northland at Te Rawhiti Inlet.

Police also spent part of this week searching for a 48-year-old man who went missing from a boat on Wednesday after ending up in Lake Rotoiti.

This summer, Maritime NZ’s ‘Nobody’s Faster than Disaster’ campaign asks boaties to wear a lifejacket, take two waterproof ways to call for help, and check the marine weather forecast.

It’s also recommended that boaties avoid alcohol and act as a responsible skipper.

“We’d like to see more people wearing lifejackets at all times. Research shows that people who wear lifejackets on the water are more likely to survive if something goes wrong,” says Pania.

“When we say that ‘nobody’s faster than disaster’, it’s the truth. It’s very difficult to put a lifejacket on if you’re not wearing it and you end up in the water.”

In 2016, there were 13 recreational fatalities in New Zealand waters compared with 24 in 2015. Research commissioned by MNZ last year showed 86 per cent of those who own and/or use recreational vessels said they carry enough lifejackets for all those on board; the rate varies, depending on the boat type and the number of passengers carried.

Only 63 per cent of boaties say they wear a lifejacket at all times on the water.

“We also recommend that people carry personal locator beacons – they save lives and make searches faster,” says Pania.

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