Record number of councils join No Excuses campaign to keep boaties safe
18th December 2019
A record 18 harbourmasters around the country including our own, Trevor (Curly) James are taking part in this year’s ‘No Excuses’ campaign, focusing on recreational boaties who don’t carry or wear lifejackets or whose speed on the water is unsafe. The fourth annual campaign got underway in October this year and involves harbourmasters and Maritime New Zealand (MNZ) Maritime Officers working side by side for at least five random days in each region over the summer. Westport Harbourmaster Curly James, instigated the participation of Buller in the campaign and said he was very keen to be involved in anything that helped improve safety awareness on the water. “It’s particularly important when you have a river bar like ours” he said. Westport’s campaign commences on January 18th 2020. The campaign has been steadily growing since it started in 2016, initially involving eight councils and Maritime NZ working together in each area to reinforce safety rules and regulations to recreational boaties. Action will be taken against boaties who break lifejacket and speed rules, including possible infringement notices of up to $300. Maritime Officers and harbourmasters will check that people are complying with the safety rules, including those for life jackets, speed, dive flags and towing with an observer. Maritime NZ Deputy Director, Sharyn Forsyth, said it was great to see the campaign moving for the first time into the Buller, Gisborne, Taranaki and the Manawatu areas. “Harbourmasters and Maritime Officers are working together on the water to ensure boaties know, understand and follow the rules,” she said. “Up to two-thirds of recreational boaties who drown might have been saved if they wore lifejackets,” Ms Forsyth said. “Boaties speeding in busy areas is dangerous and can injure children, swimmers, divers and people in small craft. “Safe boaties follow the rules each and every time they go on the water. There are no excuses for breaking the rules and causing risk to yourself and others.” Westport Harbour staff have also been liaising with the Coastguard on its “OLD4NEW” programme scheduled to occur on the same day as the “No Excuses” campaign kicks off. Coastguard’s Old4New Lifejacket Upgrade is a nationwide campaign encouraging kiwis to bring in any old, damaged or worn lifejackets and upgrade them for brand new, fit- for-purpose Hutchwilco lifejackets at a heavily discounted price.
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