Maritime NZ announces safer boating grants

Thousands of young people, boaties, and community groups will get boat safety training as part of $124,510 of recreational boating funding granted to 12 groups, Maritime New Zealand announced today.

The funding is provided by the Government from fuel excise duty paid by motor boat owners.

Chair of the Safer Boating Forum, Maritime NZ Deputy Director Lindsay Sturt, said the funding aims to reduce injuries and fatalities, and positively change boaties’ safety behaviour.

Several of the initiatives target youth which will help “future proof” New Zealand’s boating culture.

“We want children to learn excellent habits right from the start, and children are also good ambassadors and influencers. They take messages home to their families, and encourage and influence how they behave,” Mr Sturt said.

Coastguard Boating Education will progressively roll out its safe boating children’s programme across the country. Thirty-eight aquatic centres and four outdoor adventure companies are already delivering the programme, which has reached 45,000 children so far.

Hawkes Bay Regional Council will be taking a hands-on programme to more than 2,000 children. It involves lifejackets, communications, weather watch, and safety in and around boats.

Waka Ama New Zealand will train 200 trainers in maritime safety rules, survival in the water, and the specifics of righting, towing and rigging waka. The trainers will pass on their knowledge to their clubs, whanu and wider community.

The national award-winning Safe Summer Coromandel programme will be extended to the busiest Coromandel boat ramps, at Whangamata, Whitianga and Waikawau. The programme focuses on changing behaviour around alcohol, including when boating is involved. The programme is a collaboration of the Waikato Regional Council, Police and 15 other agencies. It has won the New Zealand Problem Orientated Policing award for 2015 and will be show cased at the Australasian awards.

Recreational boating grants are announced during Safer Boating Week, this year October 16-23. It is the week before Labour Day weekend, the traditional start of recreational boating.