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Published: 2014-12-22 00:00:00

Boaties will have extra help to stay safe this summer with VHF radio channels information added to the data available through the smartphone app MarineMate.

The award-winning app was developed by Waikato Regional Council in co-operation with other agencies.

“Having the VHF channels most appropriate for use in various areas was a logical addition to the wide range of weather, tides, rules and other boating safety-related information available through MarineMate,” said the council’s maritime services manager Nicole Botherway.

“We hope it will make it even easier for boaties – and their friends and families - to stay safe out on the water.”

MarineMate has been proving very popular with boaties nationwide with more than 21,000 downloads since its release late last year.

The app is available by going to the appropriate app store for the smartphone that people own.

Meanwhile, Mrs Botherway encourages anyone planning to cross bars in Waikato and Bay of Plenty to check out the popular and award winning bar crossing films developed by the council and partner agencies.

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

“Already the films have had about 21,000 views and the more people see them the better,” said Mrs Botherway.

“We’re confident MarineMate and the films will 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.”

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