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Published: 2012-11-20 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council’s navigation team is investigating a serious rowing mishap on the Waikato River which has highlighted the dangers of collisions if crews don’t take enough care.

“We’re told all the rowers from one skiff ended up in the water and several suffered injuries, while a number of oars were broken,” said navigation safety programme manager Nicole Botherway.

“While we haven’t established the full circumstances of the accident, this incident reinforces the need for rowers and other craft to take great care on the river, to share the waterway properly and follow all applicable rules.

“It’s particularly concerning this mishap has occurred after a number of near misses on the river in the last few years, which also prompted us to issue reminders to people about following the rules,” said Mrs Botherway.

The council has been told the accident happened around 11am on Saturday just north of the Claudelands Bridge in Hamilton.

Three eights from Hamilton Boys High were said to be racing, taking up the width of the river, and one collided with a masters quad from Hamilton Club while attempting to overtake. The masters quad crew were tipped out, oars were broken, and a number of the masters crew were hurt, the council has been told.

Mrs Botherway stressed she did not want to pre-judge the outcome of the council’s investigation.

“But equally I would stress that extra care needs to be taken by any vessel when overtaking another and that it’s always important not to take up too much space on the river.

“The Waikato River is not a superhighway and users need to be mindful of the fact that there can be little room for error when other craft and water users are involved.”