Wharf jump to launch Safer Boating Week

Remembering 27 boaties who died in 2014

Safer Boating Week begins on a serious note this Friday, remembering boaties who died.

Last year 27 people died in recreational boating accidents, and another 16 have died so far this year.

“Compounding these tragedies is that two-thirds of the people are likely to have survived if they had worn lifejackets,” Maritime New Zealand Director Keith Manch said.

“More than 90 per cent of people who die while recreational boating are men. Every one of them was a father, brother, son, husband and friend.

“Such deaths are devastating to the families and communities involved, and in many cases could be prevented by following basic safe boating rules, including wearing lifejackets,” Mr Manch said.

The Safer Boating Forum, is drawing attention to those tragic events with a wharf jump, at Queen’s Wharf, Wellington, 11am Friday October 16. Mr Manch will lead 27 boating safety leaders into the harbour. Crucially, all will be wearing lifejackets.

The wharf jump will be a spectacular start to the week – Mr Manch and other participants will be available for interviews at the wharf.

“Safer Boating Week is about boaties taking simple steps to prepare before going out on the water so they avoid problems, and if problems arise, they are more likely to survive.

“If you are on the water when you discover a problem with your boat or equipment, or that you do not know an important safety rule, then it is too late and people are in danger.”

Thankfully, boating safety behaviour seems to be improving. In a recent survey 78 per cent of boaties said they always wear a lifejacket on the water, and 60 per cent said they always wear life jackets and ensure others on their boat do too.

Safer boating key messages

The three key Safer Boating Week messages are all about what to do before going on the water:

  • Prep your boat – service the engine, check and change the fuel, check the battery and just generally give the boat a good once over.
  • Check your gear – make sure your lifejackets are still fit for purpose and you have enough. Service any inflatable lifejackets and ensure you have two reliable forms of communication equipment.
  • Know the rules – ensure you know the “rules of the road” on the water, and check your local bylaws to make sure you understand what the requirements are in your area.