Men 'gung-ho' about boat safety – Maritime NZ

Men 'gung-ho' about boat safety – Maritime NZ

Water safety officials made a splash in Wellington Harbour this morning to mark Safer Boating Week and the 27 people who died boating last year.

The weather and the lifejackets played their parts during the jump off Queen's Wharf by representatives from a number of organisations including Maritime New Zealand, Coastguard, the Defence Force, police, Search and Rescue and Water Safety NZ.

Sixteen people have already died in recreational boating accidents this year, and Maritime New Zealand director Keith Manch says many are preventable.

He says one demographic in particular is overrepresented in the statistics.

"[It's] middle-aged men in many cases. Perhaps we're a little bit gung-ho, we think 'we've done this for a long time, we're not going to have trouble, it's not going to happen to us' but the bad news is that it does and a lot of people would still be alive today if they had taken those messages and worn those lifejackets.

"Such deaths are devastating to the families and communities involved, and in many cases could be prevented by following basic safe boating rules," Mr Manch says.

More than 90 percent of those who die in recreation boating accidents are men.

New Zealand Search and Rescue is on the frontline helping those who get themselves into trouble and says a many of their missions are preventable.

"A great number, to be fair [are preventable], so we're very keep people take the proper precautions", Duncan Ferner, Search and Rescue secretariat manager says.

"We'd like to keep our job to an absolute minimum; we're very interested in people having a good time without having to call us out."

Awareness of boating safety seems to be improving with a recent survey showing 78 percent of boaties say they always wear a lifejacket on the water, while 60 percent say they always wear lifejackets and ensure others do as well.

Safe boating tips:


For more information go to the Safer Boating or Adventure Smart websites.

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