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Published: 2011-11-10 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council is reminding boaties they may face instant fines of up to $200 if they fail to follow rules aimed at keeping them and other water users safe over summer.

“Nationally, about 30 people more have drowned so far this year compared to all of last year,” said navigation safety programme manager Nicole Botherway.

“Over summer, we are planning to have a very strong focus in the Waikato on enforcing rules designed to protect water users, both on freshwater and at sea.”

Mrs Botherway, who noted six recent deaths in the Waikato of people not wearing lifejackets, said some of the key safety rules that should be followed included:

  • Having enough lifejackets on board for everyone
  • Using an observer when towing so the skipper can drive the boat safely
  • Keeping speed to five knots or less around others vessels and water users.

The council has put a lot of effort into publicising the rules in recent years and surveys now show a good awareness in the region about them, Mrs Botherway added.

“At times in the past we may have warned people when we’ve seen them breaching rules. But, given the level of awareness we’ve now confirmed, we believe it’s important now to remind people they can be fined up to $200 for safety rule breaches.

“Ultimately, we want all people using boats on waterways and the ocean to be safe. All boaties can make a big contribution to this goal by following the simple safety rules we have put in place.”

Find out more about the rules here or phone the navigation safety team on 0800 800 401.