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Capsized boaties ignored bar advice

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5/04/2016

None of the skippers in three recent boat capsizes used a free bar crossing safety service which would have seen them rescued much quicker, the Coastguard says.

Ten people have been lucky to survive bar crossings at Manukau, the Coromandel and in the Bay of Plenty over Easter.

In the Manukau Bar capsize, one survivor was only spotted by chance two hours later by a passing boatie and then they began searching for his two companions.

Another three were thrown from their vessel trying to cross the Coromandel's Tairua bar and four were in the drink when their inflatable was overturned crossing the Pukehina Bar, near Tauranga.

"These incidents are happening too frequently and the message isn't getting through," said Coastguard NZ chief executive Patrick Holmes.

In all three cases a bar crossing report would have alerted the Coastguard and the victims would have been rescued sooner.

The bar crossing report is a free service where boaties can inform the Coastguard by radio or *500 on their mobiles that they are about to cross a bar.

The Coastguard will take action if they don't hear from the boat within a certain time and can't make contact.

"This can cut the response time down significantly and ultimately be the difference between a life and death situation," Mr Holmes said.

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