Media release

Safer Boating Week under way

Friday 16 October 2015

The Otago Regional Council and Dunedin City Council are supporting Safer Boating Week, which started today, and runs until October 23.

ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead said the week-long campaign, led by Maritime NZ, and supported by regional, city, and district councils, aimed to focus boaties’ attention on getting their boats, their gear, and themselves ready before hitting the water this season.

Hundreds of people use Otago’s coastal waters, harbours, lakes, and rivers for boating recreation each week, and in the summer holiday season that number soars to thousands.

“Rather than just pulling the boat out of the garage and straight onto the water – we’re asking boaties to pause and run through a few basic steps to help ensure they, their friends, and families will be safe on the water this summer,” Mr Woodhead said.

The three key Safer Boating Week messages are:

  1. Prep your boat – prepare your boat and make sure it’s safe
  2. Check your gear – check you have the right safety equipment and that it’s working
  3. Know the rules – ensure you know the “rules of the road on the water” and check your local bylaws before you go out.

More than two-thirds of all New Zealanders who drown when boating could have survived simply by wearing a life jacket.

Last year 27 people died in recreational boating accidents. On top of this, hundreds more required rescuing by the Coastguard, Police, and the NZ Rescue Coordination Centre – if this strong rescue network wasn’t in place, it’s certain more would die.

Many accidents can be prevented by some simple precautionary measures being taken.

“Safer Boating Week is about trying to change the behaviour of those who go out on boats and think an accident couldn’t happen to them – on any day, it could,” Mr Woodhead said.

Information on safer boating is being distributed to local boating shops.

ORC offers general safety and navigation advice for people boating on Otago Harbour, including a downloadable guide on the ORC website

For more information contact

Stephen Woodhead
Otago Regional Council
Ph 027 280 1635