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Complaints spark reminder for boaties to learn water rules

Published: 05/02/2019

Boaties are being reminded to learn the rules of the water after a string of recent complaints to Waikato Regional Council harbourmasters.

 

“Our harbourmasters are patrolling regularly, especially at this time of the year when there are so many people in and on the water. But we can’t be at all locations at once,” said maritime services team leader, Richard Barnett.

 

“We’ve had complaints of fast vessels, such as power boats and jet skis, speeding above the limits around areas like Horahora as well as other popular Waikato spots, and failing to keep right to prevent collisions.

 

“They’re basic rules, but they have been designed to keep everybody on and in the water safe,” Mr Barnett said.

 

The rules are available at www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/navigation and include:

  • Jet skis must be registered if they are to be used in the Waikato region.
  • On inland waters, you must not exceed 5 knots within 50 metres of swimmers, other boats and structures (such as the Horahora bridge) or within 30 metres of the shore.
  • On coastal waters, you must not exceed 5 knots within 50 metres of swimmers and other boats, and 200 metres of structures and the shoreline.

Ultimately, it’s the skipper’s responsibility to know the rules and follow them, and to ensure the safety of everyone on board their vessels, Mr Barnett said.

Skippers should also be assessing any risks and the impacts their wake may have on other vessels, swimmers, shorelines and structures, he said. “Don’t be that person who creates annoying wakes and makes it hard for people to launch or retrieve their boats from the ramps.”

 

Mr Barnett also encouraged boaties handing over responsibility for their vessels to young people to first make sure they know the key rules and risks.

 

“There are a lot of safe boaties out there keeping an eye out for each other, but it’s the young teens that really need their parents’ time and attention to teach them the rules. And the Coastguard has excellent day skipper’s courses too.”

 

Members of the public are encouraged to report unsafe boating behaviours to the council harbourmasters by calling 0800 800 401.