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Port Waikato bar crossing capsize again highlights risks

Another bar crossing mishap, this time at Port Waikato, has again highlighted the importance of wearing lifejackets while crossing and ensuring that Coastguard is contacted before and after a crossing. 

Between 9am and 10am a six metre powered vessel flipped was swamped while attempting to head out across the bar with four men aboard.

They were all wearing lifejackets and are now safe but the boat is missing.

Waikato Regional Council maritime services team leader Richard Barnett said the incident highlighted a number of issues.

“The skipper had not alerted Coastguard to the crossing. Recommended practice is to alert Coastguard beforehand and then confirm afterwards that the craft has got across safely. If the confirmation call is not made Coastguard knows there’s a potential problem.

“While crossing the bar today, the vessel was swamped by waves and all four men ended up in the water. They tied themselves together and tried to raise the alarm with flares. But this didn’t work. Eventually they made it to shore after about 45 mins in the water.

“Good on the men for wearing lifejackets but the time they spent in the water highlights why Coastguard should be alerted before crossings.”

General information on how to cross Waikato bars safely is at https://www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/barcrossing/

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