Safety messages taken to the water
Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 39, March 2012
Nelson-based MNZ Maritime Investigator Domonic Venz and Safe Boating Advisor Katie McNabb spent several days on board the Police launch Lady Elizabeth IV in January. They were participating in an educational programme involving MNZ, Police and the Ministry of Fisheries (MFish), with support from the Tasman District Council. Also on board was a cameraman, recording footage for the Coastwatch television series, which will screen early next year.
Dominic said the purpose of the programme was purely educational, with the goal being to get out on the water and talk with both recreational boaties and commercial operators to spread maritime safety messages.
“For the first two days, we were involved in MNZ work, while the second two days were devoted to MFish. The partnership worked really well, with great support from the Police team on the Lady Liz,” Domonic said.
“Over the two days that we were on board, we handed out about 100 safe boating packs and had 500–600 individual contacts with people on the water, which were really well received.”
Domonic said the Tasman/Golden Bay area was chosen because it is a high-use area, popular with both commercial operators and recreational boaties. The team paid visits to Kaiteriteri and locations around Abel Tasman National Park. MNZ and MFish carried out a similar joint operation in the Bay of Islands in January.
The MNZ team also took the opportunity to check commercial vessels’ documentation, all of which complied.
However, Domonic said a check of commercial vessel speeds in one area of the park showed some operators not adhering to speed limits, and this would be followed up by the harbourmaster.
Katie said the deployment was a great opportunity. “A stand-out feature of the trip was that it showed how effective it is to deliver messages as part of a multi-disciplinary team. The power of all the agencies working together made it feel so much stronger.
“MNZ being seen on the water in a safety initiative like this was particularly welcomed. While Safe Boating Advisors do a huge amount of work around trailer craft at the ramp and at boat shows and other events each year, the ability to talk to moored boats on the water was a fantastic opportunity – one that seldom arises.”
Katie said boaties had a chance to ask questions of the team, as well as receiving safety and fisheries material. “We also received invitations to board and share some hospitality, which would have been great but, with great focus, we stayed on the mission!”
“The team covered the western side of Tasman Bay, up into Golden Bay and back to Nelson, then via French Pass to Pelorus Sound, and finally to Queen Charlotte Sound. With the use of the Lady Liz and the rigid-hull inflatable boat (RIB) on board, I probably spoke to people on about 100 boats.
“The great news was that the level of boat preparation was high, with only two exceptions. There is a genuine attempt by most boaties to be safe and they are very keen to show you how much gear they have on board,” said Katie.
“A huge thanks goes to the Police crew on board – I can’t speak highly enough of them and their professionalism on the water.”