Skipper ordered to pay $130,000

26 January 2018

The skipper of a recreational boat that collided with a rocky outcrop in the Coromandel has been ordered to pay a total of almost $130,000 in reparations to three victims on board.

Speed and alcohol were factors in the night-time crash last January, which threw one man overboard.

All three passengers were injured, with two requiring hospitalisation. The skipper was unharmed at the helm of the seven metre runabout.

Judge Kim Saunders told the Hamilton District Court earlier this week that the skipper’s conduct that night was “highly reckless”. She convicted him of “operating a ship in a manner which caused unnecessary danger or risk to another person or property”; and fined him $6,750, in addition to the victims’ reparations.

Maritime NZ Central Regional Compliance Manager, Pelin Davison, says the outcome is a reminder to all skippers not to mix drinking and boating.

“This crash was preventable. The skipper was drinking with his friends while out fishing on a boat at night. His poor judgment included motoring too fast toward shore in the dark, in an area of known hazards.

Chart plotter

“He failed to identify the boat’s position using the chart plotter on board, and did not respond to warnings from crew – including about the boat’s proximity to the shore and rocks.”

The skipper changed direction only slightly and failed to reduce speed, before driving straight into a rocky outcrop on the coastline.

Miss Davison says the high level of reparations awarded reflects the severity of the injuries inflicted.

“We urge all skippers to be aware that they are responsible for the safety of everybody on board, and for the safe operation of their vessel.”

Speeding is being targeted this summer in a No Excuses compliance campaign. Maritime NZ is working with regional councils around the country to talk with boaties on the water.

Skippers face fines if they are not keeping to the five knot rule within 200 metres of shore and are not complying with lifejacket rules.

All media releases

Subscribe Follow us News feed

Call the MNZ media line