Too many boaties speeding

Boaties breaking the speed limit has been the number one complaint on Canterbury waterways this summer.

Navigation Safety Officer Gary Manch, from Environment Canterbury’s Harbourmaster’s Office, said most complaints received so far had been about boaties going too fast.

“If you’re within 200 metres of the shore or within 50 metres of another boat or swimmer, you are required by law to go no faster than five knots. That feels like a fast walking pace, which means you won’t be creating any wake behind you,” said Manch.

There were some exceptions in special “speed uplifted zones”, which could be found on pages 28 to 30 of the bylaw.

Skippers are responsible

“A lot of boaties we talk to say they don’t know about the speed limits, which is disappointing. Our staff are out and about on the water a lot during summer, but with an estimated 200,000 boaties in Canterbury, we can’t watch everyone all the time,” he said.

“That’s why we really encourage skippers to take personal responsibility for knowing the rules in the area they’re boating in. Safety should be the skipper’s priority. If they aren’t sure of the rules, they should read our recreational boating webpage, check with Maritime New Zealand, or ask us directly.”

Manch said Environment Canterbury had also brought in a boat identification system, so boaties who were speeding could be easily identified and reported.

“The speed limits are there for a reason – to make sure everyone can safely enjoy our region’s many waterways. No one wants to be that jet ski that seriously hurts someone because they were going too fast to slow down in time.”

More information on safe boating