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Stick to the five knot rule

Boaties and jetskiers are reminded to stick to the five knot rule when they are out enjoying the Waikato region’s waterways this summer.

The rule, designed to protect people and property from harm, says you can’t go more than five knots (a fast walking pace) within:
• 50m of a vessel or swimmer
• 200m of the shore, a diver’s flag, a wharf or other structure.

Environment Waikato’s navigation safety manager Shelley Monrad said: “Despite education campaigns, some people still ignore the basic safety rules, so we will be more proactive in enforcing them this summer.”

Environment Waikato harbourmasters will be patrolling the region’s waterways and taking a firmer line on enforcing boating safety rules. Fines of $200 will be issued to those breaking the rules.

Other rules to be strictly enforced include new rules that began in 1 July 2009:

• Lifejackets – these must be worn all the time in boats under 6m, unless the skipper decides it is safe not to.
• Communications – skippers must ensure there is at least one appropriate means of communication on board, which must be operational at all times during the trip.

“Harbourmasters will be out and about checking that people are following these rules, which are part of the Waikato Regional Council Navigation Safety Bylaw 2009,” said Ms Monrad. 

People can visit www.ew.govt.nz/5knot(external link) for more information on the five knot rule, and www.ew.govt.nz/newrules(external link) for information on some of the new rules in the Waikato Regional Council Navigation Safety Bylaw.

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