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Published: 2011-12-13 00:00:00

Boaties using the Waikato region’s lakes this summer are being urged not to be lulled into a false sense of security.

Waikato Regional Council harbourmaster Kim McKenzie said boaties using lakes should make sure they know and follow safety rules so they can keep themselves, their friends, and their family safe this summer.

“114 people have drowned this year around New Zealand and I don’t want to see anyone die on the Waikato’s lakes and rivers this summer.

“Boating on inland waterways such as the Waikato’s hydro lakes often gives boaties a false sense of security because they can see the shore, and the water can look deceptively calm.

“But more people drown on inland waterways than they do off the coast. So maintaining vigilance and staying safe is at least as important on lakes as it is out at sea.”

Mr McKenzie urged all boaties to follow these simple rules and suggestions:

  • Skippers must carry enough, correctly fitting lifejackets for everyone aboard. These need to be worn or stored where they can be easily accessed in an emergency. Children should wear lifejackets at all times while on boats.
  • Carry at least two forms of communication. Coverage can be quite hard to get on lakes so having a back up form of communication is essential.
  • Switch on navigation lights between dusk and dawn
  • Keep to the starboard, right side of the lake and pass port (left) to port.
  • Within 50 metres of a swimmer and another boat and 30 metres of the shore (50 metres on Lake Karapiro) go no faster than 5 knots (9.25 km per hour). There are also 5 knot designated areas on Lake Arapuni and Lake Karapiro. Boaties need to make sure they know where these are and stay within the speed limit.
  • Use an observer while towing. A person needs to be keeping a lookout so the skipper can focus on driving

 Skippers can go to www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/boatsafety for more information or phone the council’s navigation safety team on 0800 800 401.