Bay of Plenty harbourmasters are urging boaties to ensure their inflatable life jackets are in good working order. “Regular maintenance of inflatable life jackets is essential – there have been drownings in other parts of New Zealand due to life jackets failing to inflate and that’s not something we want to see happening,” Bay of Plenty Regional Council Maritime Operations Manager, Reuben Fraser says. There’s a great range of personal floatation devices (PFD) available and many people opt for the inflatable types because they are light, easy to wear and don’t take up much vessel storage space. But it’s very important they are checked regularly and every second year they should be fully serviced by a professional service agent. Have a chat to your supplier about how to check them and what to look for during your own regular checks and about biennial full servicing – they’ll be able to send them to an agent on your behalf or certainly point you in the right direction.
Make Sure it Fits
Remember, life jackets can save your life – but only if they are a proper fit. While not compulsory, the wearing of life jackets is encouraged, particularly if you are not a confident or skilled swimmer or are inexperienced in and on the water. Ensuring life jackets are the right fit is vital – a small child can slip out of an adult-sized life jacket if they fall into the water and/or become panicked. Life jackets should fit snugly but without constricting breathing.
Keep it fun – stay safe
Have fun out on the water this summer but please be responsible and safe – that’s the call from Bay of Plenty Regional Council maritime staff.
Increased numbers of people using the lakes during the summer months means extra care and vigilance is needed by all water users. Maritime staff and volunteer wardens will be doing their best to keep people safe, but everyone needs to know the rules and be aware of others around them so that we can all enjoy our beautiful lakes safely.
• You must be 15 or older to drive a powered vessel that is capable of travelling faster than 10 knots, including a jet ski.
• You must not go faster than five knots:
- Within 50 metres of another vessel or person in the water
- Within 200 metres of the shore, a dive flag, or any structure
• The operator of any vessel, including a jet ski, must ensure there is a lifejacket of the correct size and fit for each person on board.
• You must ensure that your vessel’s wake does not cause danger or damage to boats or other water users.
• If you are skiing/towing there must also be an observer who is older than 10 years in the vessel or on the jet ski.
•The person being towed must wear a lifejacket
•You can be fined $200 for breaching the bylaw.
Free copies of the Bay of Plenty Regional Navigation Safety Bylaw 2010 are available from Bay of Plenty Regional Council offices or by contacting the council on 0800 884 880 or at firstname.lastname@example.org