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More concerns over rowing safety in Hamilton

Waikato Regional Council says it’s been informed of another serious rowing incident on the Waikato River at Hamilton last Saturday 17 November.

On Tuesday, the council reported it was investigating a collision on Saturday between an eight from Hamilton Boys High and a coxless masters quad from Hamilton Club, which saw quad members tipped into the water, oars broken and a number of injuries to the masters crew.

Now the council has been told that two women spent more than an hour in the water clinging to their skiff as they were not wearing life jackets and no coach boat was present.

One woman was very bruised and both were cold and shaken after the incident.

The regional council’s navigation safety manager Nicole Botherway said her team had launched a second investigation into the incident involving the women.

“Our concern is that this serious situation could potentially have had fatal consequences.

“The rules covering rowing on the river are that if you do not have a coach boat then you are required to have lifejackets. We are keeping an open mind and investigating exactly what happened in this situation.

“But it is concerning to hear of yet another situation where the safety of rowers is being compromised on the river. Safety must be paramount.”

Ms Botherway also said another report had come in today of an eight being on the wrong side of the river for a time this morning.

“Rowers need to ensure that they keep right at all times and not to take up too much space on the river.”

Ms Botherway said that the council was in contact with rowing clubs over the incidents and would consider what further dialogue it will have with the rowing community once the investigations into the recent incidents have been concluded.

“Our primary concern is that river users come home safely after time on the water.”

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