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Published: 2005-12-22 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is taking a fun approach to a serious water safety message this summer.

The council’s navigation safety team will hand out frisbees to boat owners at popular boat ramps over the Christmas break. But it’s not all fun. The frisbees have been printed with some serious water safety messages, aimed at keeping people safe on the Region’s waterways.

Close to 38,000 boats use the Region’s rivers, lakes and harbours with usage particularly heavy over summer around the Coromandel, along the Waikato River and at lakes Karapiro and Arapuni.

David Pearks, Navigation Safety Programme Manager, said while most boaties acted responsibly, high speeds near the shore or close to moorings and other vessels were a potential “disaster waiting to happen.”

“We’ve got brilliant opportunities for water sports in the Region but we do need to be careful when boats and jetskis are sharing the water with swimmers, water-skiers and other users,” he said.

“We wanted to remind people of the rules without being pedantic so we all stay safe and enjoy the summer. And we wanted to do it in a way which directly targeted those people we need to talk to.”

The free frisbees urge boaties to follow the five-knot rule. The rule states vessels should go no faster than five knots within 200 metres of shore and within 50 metres of another vessel or person in the water.

They also remind boaties that when they’re water-skiing, wakeboarding or towing their mates around, it takes three to keep them safe – a driver, a lookout and the person being towed.