Skippers need to undertake checks prior to departure

24 April 2024

The prosecution of a charter boat skipper is highlighting the need for operators to ensure they are properly prepared for their journeys.

Skipper of the charter vessel Pelagic Kieren Boyle was recently sentenced in the Wellington District Court for a breach of the Health and Safety at Work Act, in relation to the vessel running out of fuel off the coast of Gisborne.

On 6 June 2022, Boyle took four customers and another crew-member on a charter fishing for tuna.

About seven hours and 27 nautical miles off the coast of Gisborne, the vessel ran out of fuel.

Maritime NZ’s Manager, General Regulatory Operations Central, Jarred McCarthy says failing to ensure a vessel has enough fuel for a journey puts everyone on-board at risk.

“If a vessel runs out of fuel while operating, the vessel and everyone on board will be at the mercy of the weather and conditions at sea unless or until they can be rescued.

“This is not a risk worth taking. Weather at sea can change quickly and running out of fuel can increase the risk of capsize, passenger injury due to a lack of stability, and the vessel drifting; causing those on-board to potentially run out of supplies,” he says.

In the vessel’s pre-voyage check there is an instruction to check the fuel levels.

“This clearly didn’t take place adequately or properly prior to departure. Passengers going on charter trips have a right to believe proper procedures are being followed prior to departing and during their expedition.

“This wasn’t the case on this trip,” Jarred McCarthy says.


Kieren Boyle was fined $3900 at sentencing.

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