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Published: 2017-11-02 11:00:00

Heed boating safety messages over bar crossings or risk death and serious injury.

That’s the call from disappointed Waikato Regional Council harbourmasters after a capsizing at Port Waikato that involved the rescue of three middle-aged men from Pukekohe.

The trio went overboard when their 5.5-metre aluminium runabout struck a wave and overturned near the Port Waikato bar at the weekend.

Only two out of the three men were wearing lifejackets, they carried no means of waterproof communication and they failed to log a trip report with Coastguard.

“We are extremely disappointed that these sorts of crucial boating safety messages aren’t being put into effect by boaties,” says maritime services team leader Richard Barnett.

“People who get into trouble in these sorts of circumstances, without having taken simple safety measures, are risking death or serious injury. We want everyone to come home safe at the end of the day and following some simple rules could save the life of yourself, your family and your mates. Don’t take silly shortcuts.”

The recent national safer boating campaign supported by the council’s maritime services team focussed heavily on promoting the importance of always being prepared.

“We can’t stress enough that when crossing a bar it is important to always wear a lifejacket - not only is it law but it could be the difference between life and death,” says Richard.

He adds that it’s particularly important for people to always check marine forecasts before they go out on the water. “MetService provides an excellent and free service about the highs and lows of marine weather and people need to make sure they’re aware of the conditions they could face.”

Also, Coastguard runs a series of bar crossing seminars that give boaties the tools and local knowledge to help navigate these often treacherous pieces of water safety.