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Boaties well behaved in Southland this summer - Environment Southland

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The majority of Southland boaties demonstrated good safety practices and an understanding of the rules over the holiday period.

Harbourmaster Lyndon Cleaver said there was a large number of boaties out on the waters around the region over Christmas and New Year, with quite a few believed to be first time boat owners.

"We had expected to have a few new boaties out there and weren’t sure how it might go, but generally we were pretty impressed.

"Most people were aware of the rules and sticking to them, we encountered very few boats without the correct lifejackets and most people were out having a good time and keeping everybody on board safe."

The harbourmaster team was out on the water throughout the holidays, checking on boats and educating people. They didn’t issue any infringements, but some people did need a reminder on the rules.

"We still have a few issues with people not sure about the ski lanes and not keeping them clear, especially with large numbers of boats around. In these cases, a quick refresher on the rules was all that was needed.

"People should also remember that rules apply to all vessels and this includes stand-up paddle boards, jet skis and other small recreational craft."

Lyndon said anybody new to boating should ensure they are aware of the rules and ideally do a recognised recreational boating course, such as a Day Skipper or Boatmaster.

"When you skipper a boat, you are responsible for the safety of everybody on board and that’s a pretty big responsibility. There are opportunities for training and it’s worth taking these up."

Lyndon said boaties should remember a few key things when heading out on the water:

- Lifejackets must be worn in vessels six metres and under, and in all vessels at times of heightened risk.

- You must carry two forms of working communication - VHF radio, EPIRB, flares, cellphone (if coverage permits).

- There is a five knot speed limit when you are near the shore, swimmers, divers, structures and other boats.

"As well as understanding the rules, make sure you let somebody know where you are going and when you intend to be back, so they can raise the alarm if you don’t arrive."

You can find out more about staying safe on the water at

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