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Coastguard Encouraged By Summer Boating Trends

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Coastguard Encouraged By Summer Boating Trends

Coastguard New Zealand says its volunteers have had a steady start to the summer season, with a similar number of calls for assistance compared with the same period last year.

Over the period from 1 December 2009 to 17 January 2010, Coastguard volunteers dealt with 869 incidents, including search and rescue operations, compared with 871 during the same period in 2009.

Coastguard CEO Bruce Reid says, "It's been a busy start to the holiday season, with good weather meaning many Kiwis have been taking the opportunity to get out onto the water; however this hasn't been reflected by an increase in Coastguard activity."

Baz Kirk, Operations Manager for Coastguard Eastern Region, agrees. "It's been one of the busiest summers I've seen in years, but calls for help have remained steady. This time last year we were dealing with capsizes, injuries and some major searches, so our volunteers have enjoyed only having to deal with minor incidents."

It has been a relief to see the fatal start to last year not repeated in 2010, with one boating-related death this year compared to six in January 2009.

"The investment in education and public awareness by Coastguard and others in the sector appears to be paying dividends," Reid says, "though we can't get complacent and need to ensure that all those heading out are aware and prepared for the risks, as we are keen to see the current trend continue."

However Coastguard crews are reporting an increased number of calls for assistance due to mechanical failures. "More than 40% of incidents attended nationwide have been due to mechanical issues that could potentially have been avoided," Reid says.

"We urge boaties to give their vessel a simple 'warrant of fitness'-style check before heading out on the water. Simply go to www.coastguard.co.nz to download the one-page 'Boating Safety Guide' and identify, then rectify, any risks before you leave shore."

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