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Kaipara capsize highlights dangers of bars

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/11/2016

The Kaipara Harbour tragedy underlines the need for boaties to take care when crossing a bar, Waikato Regional Council says.

The bodies of seven of the 11 men on board the Francie have been recovered after the fishing charter capsized on Saturday in treacherous conditions north of Auckland.

An eighth person remains missing and is presumed dead.

Further south, Waikato has hazardous bars at Kawhia and Raglan on the west coast and Tairua on the east coast, the regional council says.

Maritime services team leader Richard Barnett says crossing a bar is the riskiest thing boaties can face, no matter how experienced they are.

"Conditions on any bar can change quickly and without warning," he said.

"The conditions you experience when you leave a safe harbour for the sea aren't necessarily what you will encounter when you return."

Mr Barnett's advice is: "If in doubt, don't go out."

Tips for boaties to keep safe:

* Check the weather within 12 hours of heading out

* Check the tide - always avoid low tide and also avoid ebb and outgoing tides

* Talk to a local about the bar conditions

* Tie down any loose objects such as anchor and ropes

* Make sure everyone wears a lifejacket

* Contact Coastguard on VHF immediately before and after you cross.

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