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Fresh awards for water safety work

The accolades keep rolling in for water safety smartphone app MarineMate and bar crossing films developed by Waikato Regional Council in co-operation with other agencies.

In August, the council’s maritime services team won a special national award from the Coastguard, recognizing its work with MarineMate and the films.

Now it has been announced:

  • the team has won a second major award from Water Safety New Zealand for its role in promoting the bar crossing films.
  • MarineMate has won a collaboration award and the Supreme Award at the Association of Local Government Information Management (ALGIM) awards.
  • MarineMate was runner up in a category at the New Zealand Spatial Excellence Awards.

The bar crossing films pass on expert knowledge for boaties to upgrade their safe boating skills and apply them when crossing notorious ocean bars, in Waikato and the Bay of Plenty, at Raglan, Tairua, Bowentown and Kaituna.

Water Safety New Zealand has advised the council it has been awarded the 2014 Sealord New Zealand Water Safety Award for Prevention for its work on the films. “We appreciate the invaluable contribution that the Waikato Regional Council has made to water safety in New Zealand,” said Water Safety NZ chief executive Matt Claridge.

Meanwhile, the ALGIM awards recognised the number of central and local government organizations that provided information for MarineMate, which was project managed by Waikato Regional Council maritime services manager Nicole Botherway. MarineMate provides a wide range of boating safety information for users throughout the country.

“I am proud of MarineMate because it is the answer to an information problem for all types of water-users,” said Mrs Botherway.

“It really has helped to get important information out to the masses in a fun and user friendly manner and, best of all, improvements and updates have come about through feedback from the users through the app store or to us directly. This has enabled updates to include VHF channels and the answers to frequently asked questions.”

The icing on the cake was a finalist placing for MarineMate at the New Zealand Spatial Excellence Awards, and a runner-up award in the people and community category.

Mrs Botherway said it was particularly satisfying that the bar crossing films have had over 19,300 views since they were made available in July, while MarineMate is close to 22,000 downloads after being released at the end of last year.

“So besides being popular with the award judges it’s clear that boaties are finding these new safety services very valuable.

“We’re confident these products will help contribute over time to safer boating and fewer boating-related injuries and fatalities. Boating is a great part of the kiwi way of life but we need to do it safer by following simple rules like wearing lifejackets, knowing what to do when crossing bars and paying close attention to weather conditions.

“MarineMate and the bar crossing films are really great tools for Waikato boaties. We strongly encourage people to use these freely available resources.”

People can download MarineMate for free from the app store for their device.

A generic bar crossing film is available online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNTk2IejfFE

All the films are linked at: www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/barcrossing.

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