Funding increase for regions – Safer Boating campaign

Safe Seas Clean Seas Issue 50, June 2016

Maritime NZ has agreed to big increases in funding for regional initiatives aimed at lowering the annual recreational boating toll.

Maritime NZ director Keith Manch says regional funding will increase from the $124,000 allocated last year to $500,000 this year. The Government provides funding from the fuel excise duty paid by recreational boat owners.

“The NZ Safer Boating Forum has worked with us to review the national safety programme and it is time to introduce more local programmes targeting local safety issues,” says Keith.

“Forum members recognise that TV advertising around lifejackets has significantly raised awareness and improved attitudes toward boating safety in New Zealand. The Forum has decided that it is the right time to build on that increased awareness through more direct interaction with boaties.”

“The regional programmes will therefore replace national television advertising. Face-to-face contact will help change entrenched ‘risk taking’ behaviour amongst our target audience of middle-aged men and, increasingly, men under 30 joining the rapidly growing paddle craft sector.”

Keith says these programmes will complement the regional safety programmes that Forum members already have in place, including those of regional councils, the Police, Coastguard and other agencies and boating associations.

The safety focus of the Forum’s recreational boating strategy will not change. It will continue to target unsafe boating behaviours through the window of skipper responsibility, including making sure that lifejackets are worn, that emergency communication equipment is a carried, that a marine weather forecast is obtained before going out on the water, and alcohol is avoided.

Nationally, Maritime NZ will continue to promote the Forum’s safety messages through radio advertising, online and social media channels (Facebook, Twitter etc.), nationally-available safety apps, and the print media. It will also provide some collateral for national distribution, and sponsor television and radio programmes that role-model safer boating behaviours.

Maritime NZ will shortly call on regional councils and the wider boating safety community to submit proposals for grants. Funding will be allocated according to how well each programme aligns with the Forum’s national strategy and associated priorities; the size and nature of the boating population that will be impacted by the programme; its likelihood of success; and the likely return on investment. Decisions will be made by the end of July 2016.

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