Maritime officers back on the water

Both commercial operations and recreational boaties in Pelorous and Keneperu Sounds can expect a chat with Maritime NZ (MNZ) maritime officers next week (August 11 and 12) in another joint operation with the crew of the NZ Police launch Lady Elizabeth IV.

The Marlborough Sounds operation will focus on mussel farmers and the aquaculture sector, but will also provide an opportunity to ensure recreational boaties are being safe on the water.

Nelson-based MNZ Assistant Regional Compliance Manager (South) Domonic Venz said staff would be providing commercial operators with information on the new Maritime Operator Safety System (MOSS) and SeaCert qualifications framework, as well as ensuring existing safety plans are being followed.

“Our primary focus, as it is always, is on providing education and information, both to commercial operators and recreational boaties, but if we identify safety issues that need to be addressed immediately, or non-compliance with the rules, we will take action,” he said.

“Commercial operators should be well aware of the requirements of the law, but recreational boaties also have legal obligations – that includes carrying sufficient lifejackets for all on board and following collision prevention rules.”

MOSS and SeaCert represent the biggest changes in the commercial maritime sector for 15 years. MOSS has replaced the Safe Ship Management (SSM) system, which focused on individual vessels, and puts the emphasis on operators ensuring safety risks are identified and managed for their entire operation.

Operators need to enter the MOSS system over the next three years, before the expiry of their current SSM certificates. More than 250 operators are already in the MOSS system.

SeaCert is the new seafarer certification framework for MNZ’s national and international certificates of competency. All existing seafarer certificates need to transition to new certificates during the next five years, with transition to international certificates required by the end of 2016.

For recreational boaties, Mr Venz said following simple guidelines could save lives, particularly in vessels less than 6m in length.

“These are the boats in which problems can arise very quickly. We recommend boaties wear lifejackets at all times, carry two forms of communication that will work when wet, and avoid alcohol. Somebody on board must take responsibility as skipper – that includes checking the marine weather forecast and making a decision about whether it is safe to go out on the water.”