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Fines for boaties not wearing lifejackets

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 21/12/2016

Kiwis not wearing lifejackets or speeding in their recreational boats will face immediate $300 fines under a new trial.

Called the "no excuses" policy and funded by Maritime NZ, eight councils will trial the instant fines programme for five days over the summer season.

The trial will then be reviewed and a decision made about whether to extend it, says Maritime NZ director Keith Manch.

"We are focusing on boaties who do not carry or wear lifejackets.... and also unsafe speed because they are two of the biggest risks of death and injury," he said.

He said up to two-thirds of recreational boaties who died on the water might have been saved if they wore lifejackets.

Hawke's Bay harbour master Martin Moore says an incident off the coast this month highlighted the need for the "no excuses" trial.

A person fell off their "biscuit" being towed behind a power boat.

The boat's skipper, who was not wearing a lifejacket, dived in to help the panicking victim, but the remaining passenger did not know how to drive the boat.

High winds pushed the boat away from the struggling pair and they were lucky two cray fishermen were able to rescue them, Mr Moore said.

The regional councils taking part in the trial are Northland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Hawke's Bay and Canterbury, as well as Tasman and Marlborough district councils and Nelson City Council.

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