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Enjoy the thrills but know the rules

Boaties towing others on Waikato waterways are being reminded to follow basic navigation rules to help ensure they keep themselves, friends and family safe while biscuiting, waterskiing or wakeboarding.

A fatality and two serious injuries in the Waikato this month have highlighted the potential consequences of not following basic navigation safe rules when towing  said Waikato Regional Council navigation safety programme manager Nicole Botherway.

“These sorts of incidents have life changing effects.  I still find it incredible that some people will use areas reserved for swimming and paddling for towing or jet skiing.”

Mrs Botherway said boaties could help avoid mishaps by adhering to the following rules:

  • Always carry an observer on board that is over 10 years of age to watch the person(s) being towed
  • Carry lifejackets / buoyancy aids on board for everyone and those being towed must be wearing them
  • Keep speed below 5 knots (9km/h or a fast walking pace) within, 50m of a structure, swimmer, another vessel, and 200 meters of the shore (30m of the shore on inland waterways)
  • Maintain an anti clock wise course
  • Keep right on the water
  • Carry at least one form of waterproof communication

Mrs Botherway said the general level of safety precautions taken by Waikato water users so far this summer has been good. The navigation safety team had seen a visible increase in people using the jetski and towing lanes specifically designed for them.

“So, as the saying goes, enjoy the thrills but know the rules,” said Mrs Botherway.

For more information go to www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/navigation or call freephone 0800 800 401.

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