Prep, Check, Know

With the boating season now underway, Environment Canterbury’s Harbourmaster’s Office is urging people to safely enjoy our beautiful region.

The recreational boating season kicked off this week with Maritime New Zealand’s Safer Boating Week and the theme is “Prep, Check, Know”.  It’s a reminder to all boaties to prep their boat, check their gear and know the rules.

Environment Canterbury’s Navigation Safety Officer Gary Manch works alongside Maritime New Zealand each year to educate boaties in the Canterbury region about safety.

“This summer, we will be out there reminding people of the need to wear a properly fitted lifejacket, the need to carry two forms of communication that work, and the need to keep your speed down close to the shore or other people,” says Mr Manch.

“If you’re out on the water in a vessel measuring six metres or less – including paddle boards – you are required to wear a lifejacket at all times.  Lifejackets should be the right size for the person, worn correctly and checked regularly to ensure they inflate,” he says.

“Having two forms of communication is equally as important because if you do get in trouble you need to be able to tell someone who can help you. In Canterbury, VHF radios or cellphones don’t work on every single waterway so you need to make sure you have two forms of communication that will work in your area. Options include cellphones in waterproof bags, VHF radios, whistles, flares or distress beacons.

“Within 200 metres of the shore or within 50 metres of a swimmer or other boat, the speed limit is 5 knots on all our waterways.  Skippers should take responsibility for knowing rules like this and keeping their speed down.”

Visit Maritime New Zealand’s website to read more about Safer Boating Week and tips for the season ahead.