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'No excuses' for boaties flouting rules

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 20/10/2016

Eight councils will trial a "no excuses" policy for boaties not carrying or wearing lifejackets and those speeding on the water.

Maritime NZ, which is funding the initiative, says anyone breaking lifejacket and speed rules will be given infringements of up to $300, depending on each council's bylaws.

Director Keith Manch says the councils will run the trial for about five days at different times during the summer.

It will then be reviewed and a decision made on whether it will be extended.

The councils will let boaties know that enforcement action will be happening but won't publicise the specific days.

Mr Manch says failing to wear lifejackets and unsafe speed are the two biggest risks of death and injury.

"Up to two-thirds of recreational boaties who died might have been saved if they wore lifejackets," he said.

The mix of regional, district and city councils taking part are: Northland, Bay of Plenty, Waikato, Hawke's Bay, Tasman, Nelson, Marlborough and Canterbury.

Meanwhile, the Coastguard is bracing for another busy Labour Weekend and its message to boaties is: Prepare your boat and check your gear before heading out.

Chief executive Patrick Holmes said Coastguard volunteers responded to 80 incidents over the same three days last year, rescuing more than 200 people.

"We need boaties to play their part and take responsibility for their own safety," he said.

Boating Safety Code's five simple rules:

* Have a correct size life jacket for everyone on board,

* Take two forms of communication,

* Check the marine weather forecast,

* Avoid alcohol,

* A skipper is responsible for the vessel and everyone on board at all time.

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