Environment Waikato’s navigation safety team is reminding skippers to follow the region’s navigation safety bylaw after a collision between two boats put two children in hospital at the weekend.
Environment Waikato compliance and education manager Rob Dragten said that harbourmasters have reported generally very good behaviour from boaties this holiday period, which was particularly pleasing. “However, a small minority continue to flout the rules, and even abuse the harbourmasters when they pull them up for it,” he said.
“Most people who breach the rules do so in ignorance and a simple reminder is all that it takes to get things sorted” said Mr Dragten. “But it is worth remembering that breaching the bylaw can result in a $200 instant fine, so it pays to know and follow the rules.”
Important rules to reduce the risk of collision include:
Other rules to remember:
Environment Waikato also recommends that all skippers do a boating course such as a day skippers or boat masters qualification.
“A recognised boating qualification is essential to understanding the rules on the water, and knowing the rules can make the difference between a fun day out and a disaster,” said Mr Dragten.
The recent accidents have prompted calls for the introduction of skipper licensing or boat registration.
“Environment Waikato sees these as being national matters. Certainly, Maritime New Zealand has considered the issue but found that overseas these systems did not lead to a reduction in fatalities on the water.
“It comes down to the fact that there can be no substitute for knowing and following the rules to keep yourself and others safe.”
The navigation safety bylaw can be viewed on Environment Waikato’s website www.ew.govt.nz/navbylaw(external link).