A few simple checks before hitting the water this Easter weekend could save boaties from a raft of problems, says the Coastguard.
The advice comes after a busy summer season where coastguard volunteers responded to a total of almost 2000 incidents nationwide.
With the Easter forecast looking favourable, Coastguard is expecting boaties to make the most of the good weather before the onset of winter.
Coastguard volunteers around the country are trained to respond to all sorts of scenarios and attend to dozens of life-threatening situations every month but it is breakdowns and fuel problems on boats that are the main reasons boaties call coastguard for assistance.
To avoid the long weekend being cut short, coastguard operations manager Ray Burge recommends that boat owners make safety a priority.
“Our volunteers will be working over the long weekend and on-call to assist people out on the water,” says Ray.
“No one gets underway expecting to run into trouble but sometimes things don’t always go to plan. But if you check the condition of your boat, make sure you’ve got the right equipment on board and have enough fuel this will minimise the risk of something going wrong out on the water. A small mechanical issue can quickly escalate into a life-threatening situation.”
Ray says to walk around your boat and check the hull for any visible signs of damage. Carry enough fuel for the journey and check fuel lines for cracks and corrosion. And, finally check your battery.
“Flat batteries cause a lot of headaches for boat users with coastguard volunteers attending to a high number of these call-outs each year.
“Check that your battery is charged, that it continues to hold charge and be mindful of your usage on the water – turn that fishfinder off if you’re not using it, as even small loads can eventually sap a battery over the course of a day on the water.”
Ray recommends taking out a coastguard membership for peace of mind.
“Signing up to become a coastguard member is a no brainer.
“We say a coastguard membership is your best mate out on the water no matter if you are a paddle boarder, kayaker, jet skier or boatie.”
Ray also urges boaties to wear lifejackets at all times, have two forms of waterproof communication and to check the local marine weather forecast.
“As a skipper, it is your responsibility to ensure the safety of everyone on board and your vessel.”
Become a coastguard member to get free assistance out on the water. To join go to www.boatiesbestmate.nz.
Download the coastguard app from the App Store or Google Play to log a trip report, up-to-the-minute weather, wind, swell and tide information and to save locations of fishing spots.