Maritime NZ is urging Wellingtonians to make safety a priority if they’re in or on the water this holiday weekend.
The call comes after Wellington was over-represented in Water Safety NZ’s drowning death statistics for 2021 with 12 fatalities – most-commonly occurring in the harbour.
“A few minutes of planning can make the difference between a day spent creating happy memories or one that ends in tragedy,” Maritime NZ Acting Director Kenny Crawford said.
“We want you to get the most out of the weekend and to make it home safely.”
The Harbourmaster’s Office estimate a few hundred boaties will be out this weekend along with kayakers, paddle boarders, divers and swimmers.
Boaties following the boating safety code will have their safety bases covered, Mr Crawford said.
Wear your lifejacket – Wellington Regional Navigation and Safety Bylaws require you to carry lifejackets of appropriate sizes for everyone on board your boat.
Take two waterproof ways to call for help – a VHF or distress beacon are your best options. Mobile phones don’t always have reception with notable deadspots around the South Coast and other parts of the coastline. Phones can also be hard to operate if you end up in the water.
Always check the marine weather forecast – it’s a key element that’ll make or break your day. MetService provides updates on the conditions you can expect for Wellington and right up the Kapiti Coast to Waitarere Beach: https://www.metservice.com/marine/regions/kapiti-wellington
Avoid alcohol – you need your wits about you on the water. Keep your drinking on dry land and only boat if you’re sober.
Be a responsible skipper. If you’re taking mates out look out for them and make sure they’re wearing lifejackets that fits. Brush up on the local bylaws on the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s website: https://archive.gw.govt.nz/navigation-and-safety