Maritime NZ: $740,000 for 21 national and regional safer boating initiatives

Maritime NZ has announced recipients of the annual Fuel Excise Duty (FED) funding for safer boating initiatives to help reduce recreational boating fatalities and injuries.

Maritime NZ Director Kirstie Hewlett said annually there are too many preventable deaths on the water and it is great to be able to work with, and support, a wide range of initiatives with our safer boating partners aimed at turning this around.

“More than $740,000 in funding will be distributed to 21 on-water and land-based safer boating initiatives as part of the 2021 Safer Boating Campaign.

“Making life safer for all recreational boaties is the central focus of the campaign, and the grants will go a long way toward achieving this.

“Maritime NZ knows from research that a third of all boaties do not undertake any special planning before they head out onto the water which is why a mix of on-water and land-based engagement is crucial to improving safer boating outcomes,” Ms Hewlett said.

“Funding a range of safer boating programmes, in a number of regions, with different partners, ensures we can educate and reach a range of communities and make an impact to behaviours before people get on to boats as well as on the water.

“Nearly 10% of the funding – $70,000 – is being allocated to the on-water “No Excuses” campaign.

“No Excuses” brings harbourmasters from the 14 participating district and regional councils, to join with Maritime NZ staff to ensure boaties know, understand and follow the rules, including lifejacket wearing and safe speed,” Ms Hewlett said.

It is particularly noteworthy that this funding is drawn from the Fuel Excise Duty (FED) on petrol, reflecting that boaties contribute to the fund through boating activities.

Initiatives funded include programmes to upgrade lifejackets, focus on skipper responsibility, safety training for kayakers, paddle boarders and waka ama paddlers, diver supervision, yachting training for children and a drowning prevention programme specifically targeted at the Pacific Island community.

The amounts allocated range from $5,500 for the Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers (KASK) to $80,000 for Coastguard’s Old4New campaign offering discounted lifejackets to those who upgrade their old or damaged lifejackets across New Zealand.

“Unsafe lifejackets do not discriminate on who their victims are which is why Maritime NZ continues to work with Coastguard to get unsafe lifejackets out of circulation.

“Old lifejackets also include those with cotton straps and filled with kapok, which has been proven to absorb water and cause wearers to sink,” Ms Hewlett said.

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