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Published: 2012-05-07 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council is reminding boaties using the region’s waterways that failure to display the right lights at night endangers their lives and those of other water users.

The warning comes with the arrival of winter, bringing with it shorter daylight hours and the increased likelihood of fog. There were a series of near misses on the region’s waterways at night last winter and this has resulted in increased ad campaigns to educate water users.

“If you’re out at night, you must show a light. Failure to do so risks the lives of those on board, as well as people on other vessels,” said navigation safety programme manager Nicole Botherway.

“Lights must be switched on from sunset to sunrise and during times of poor visibility, such as in rain or fog.”

Mrs Botherway said the rules applied to all of the region’s waterways, including rivers and lakes.

It’s illegal to use a vessel at night without the correct lights shining and skippers risk being issued an instant $200 fine for failing to adhere to the rules.

Maritime collision prevention rules state that:

  • A power driven vessel over 12 metres but less than 50 metres in length must display red and green side lights, a white stern light and a white masthead light.
  • A power driven vessel less than 12 metres in length may combine its stern and masthead lights to one all round white light but side lights must also be displayed.
  • A power driven vessel less than seven metres in length and with a maximum speed of seven knots may exhibit an all round white light.

 For full details of the rules, please read the council’s navigation safety information, www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/navigation.