Safer Boating Week attracts national attention

Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 49, December 2015

Maritime leaders jumped off Wellington’s wharf, Duncan Garner was rescued by helicopter from Auckland harbour, and boaties gave 10,000 new waterproof cellphone bags a test run – all part of Safer Boating Week, 16–23 October.
Duncan Garner interviewing Mike Hill
Maritime New Zealand ©2019
Duncan Garner, from TV3’s Story, gets some truths about boaties needing to wear their lifejackets from Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand manager Mike Hill.

Safer Boating Forum members banded together to push recreational boating safety messages out through social media and via a range of fun and dramatic events that attracted wide-spread coverage on television, radio and in newspapers.

TV3 Story anchor Duncan Garner gamely ‘fell overboard’ from a Police inflatable in Auckland harbour, and told viewers it was a scary experience to feel the current quickly separating him from the vessel.

“Imagine having no lifejacket and no ability to call for help, in cold water... you’d be toast,” he said, after being winched aboard the Inflite Rescue Helicopter.

Duncan Garner
TV3 presenter Duncan Garner waits anxiously for the Inflite Rescue Helicopter crew to pick him up.
Maritime New Zealand ©2019

Rescue Coordination Centre of New Zealand manager Mike Hill agreed boaties need to prepare before heading out: “Our construction workers wear pink ‘high-vis’ vests on site, but we struggle to get men to wear their lifejackets out on the water”. More than 90 percent of people who die while recreational boating are men aged between 30 and 60.

Maritime NZ director Keith Manch led wharf jumpers from a wide-range of organisations – including Water Safety NZ, regional councils, NZSAR, Ambulance and Police – in launching the week with a resounding splash. The 27 jumpers represented the number of lives lost in recreational boating accidents last year – two-thirds of whom would likely have been saved if they had been wearing a lifejacket.

“Bag Your Cell” was a further key message of this year’s campaign, with Maritime NZ distributing 10,000 Safer Boating branded cellphone bags through events and new skipper courses. The aim is to remind boaties to take two forms of waterproof communications when they go out on the water.

Around the regions, Forum members dressed iconic statues in lifejackets; joined forces for boat ramp checks; and encouraged people to wear lifejackets to work – as a visual reminder of the need to Prep, Check, Know for the Labour Weekend start to the recreational boating season.

Safer Boating

Wharf jump 2015 in Wellington
Maritime New Zealand ©2019
MNZ staff were among other water safety leaders in a wharf jump to mark the start of Safer Boating Week October 16–23.
  • Prep your boat – get your boat serviced, replace fuel, check batteries, give your boat a really good once-over.
  • Check your gear – make sure life jackets are in good working order and fit well, check gas cannisters on inflatable lifejackets and expiry dates on distress beacons and flares, check batteries, and make sure you have two reliable ways to call for help that are waterproof.
  • Know the rules – as well as knowing the rules of the road on water, check the bylaws for the region you are in – on regional council websites or via the MarineMate app.

Safer Boating Week launches the annual summer recreational boating campaign which runs through until the end of February.

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