Waikato Regional Council’s maritime services team has won a national award recognising its boat safety work for the region and New Zealand.
The award was presented at the conclusion of the country’s first ever boating safety conference, held in Auckland yesterday and hosted by Coastguard Boating Education.
During the awards dinner the regional council was presented with the supreme Boating Safety Award for the “tremendous contribution” to water safety, not only within the Waikato region but also nationwide.
In particular, the award recognises the regional council’s role in the launch of the Marine Mate smartphone application in 2013, which gives water users across New Zealand easy access to all the information they will need when heading out onto the water.
The app’s development was led by the regional council’s maritime services manager Nicole Botherway, with funding from Maritime NZ, the ACC, Land Information NZ, regional councils, and with support from Water Safety New Zealand.
The award also took into account the release of five videos with information for boaties on how to safely make bar crossings. The council worked with Bay of Plenty Regional Council to produce the films, released in the past month and showing how to cross bars at Raglan, Tairua, Bowentown and Kaituna.
“Collaboration has been the key to success with both of these projects – we couldn’t have achieved all we have without the support of central and local government agencies,” said Mrs Botherway.
“Marine Mate was only released a year ago and has been downloaded more than 17,000 times. Our developer MoGeo has been an amazing guide and helps us stay up to date with the latest developments to ensure the app meets the needs of boaties around New Zealand,” Mrs Botherway said.
“The bar crossing films were a challenge to project manage – the weather, tides and people all had to be aligned on the same day – however, we have been able to produce five films which will hopefully boaties to safely navigate one of the most dangerous activities they could undertake on the water,” she said.
The conference was attended by a cross-section of people from the boating safety, maritime, marine and manufacturers industries, as well as legislators, Government and local government organisations.
Mrs Botherway (pictured on the far right) was in Auckland with some of her maritime services team for the conference. She is shown with (from left) harbourmasters Stu Crawley and Mat Collicott, and navigation safety officers Kirsty Woolsey and Kim Parker.