New York Times - Ships and Shipping

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Campaign to improve boat safety

Tauranga Coastguard's TECT RESCUE vessel.
Tauranga Coastguard's TECT RESCUE vessel.

Local boaties will benefit from a new education campaign aimed at reducing the number of deaths at sea and improving boating safety.

Boaties in the Bay and across New Zealand will learn basic safety messages in the education campaign, launched by the Coastguard today.

In its latest annual report, Coastguard rescued 6634 Kiwis who found themselves in trouble on the water, and brought home the bodies of 45 people who died while at sea.

The campaign will see Coastguard push the Boating Safety Code _ five simple rules that can save lives on the water.

These are: take and wear life jackets, skipper responsibility, taking a VHF radio for waterproof communications, checking the marine weather forecast before heading out, and don't drink before going out or while on the water.

Coastguard's executive officer, brand and marketing Christine Haru said the five boating safety rules could save lives and prevent deaths.

"Sadly forty-five people perished on the water in the last year, and while many factors contributed to this number, evidence would suggest that some of those deaths would have been preventable if people followed the five simple boating safety rules.''

She said it cost an average of $280 an hour to operate a rescue vessel and Coastguard had to fundraise or ask for sponsorship or grants to cover its operating costs.

Fishing Camping Outdoors (FCO) are one of the sponsors of the education initiative.

Managing director of FCO, Steve Doyle, said it was "only right'' to help out the Coastguard and push importance of boating safety code to its customers.

"Even the most experienced boatie can run into problems while on the water, so it's important that everyone knows how to react in those tricky situations,'' he said.

Source: Bay of Plenty Times, Tauranga, New Zealand.

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