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Published: 2015-10-20 00:00:00

Boaties are being reminded to prep their boat, check their gear and know the rules ahead of the traditionally busy Labour Weekend on the Waikato region’s waterways and off the coast.

“We want you to have fun if you’re heading out on the water over Labour Weekend or planning to use your boat over summer, but it’s important to stay safe,” says Waikato Regional Council’s maritime services team leader, Richard Barnett (pictured).

The call comes amid the national Safer Boating Week launched last Friday in Wellington, with Richard Barnett and Nicole Botherway from the regional council joining up to 30 others leaping off Queen’s Wharf in their lifejackets.

Safer Boating Week is about reminding boaties to take simple steps to prepare before going out on the water so they avoid problems and are more likely to survive if problems do arise.

Top tips for making it home safe are:        

  • make sure the marine weather and tide are going to be good before heading out - that information is available at www.metservice.com
  • check your equipment before heading out
  • wear a correctly sized lifejacket – if using an inflatable check canisters and that the bladder is not punctured (see www.youtube.com/boatsafetyinnz for advice on how to do this)
  • know all relevant boating rules (www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/navigation)
  • carry two forms of waterproof communications that are right for the area and enable you to contact someone during the entire trip
  • let someone else know where you’re heading and the time when you expect to be back
  • avoid alcohol if you are the skipper.

Richard says council harbourmasters would be out and about helping to keep people safe over summer.

“Good communications are particularly important, because you need to be able to contact someone quickly if you’re in trouble,” says Richard.

Going easy on alcohol was particularly important for skippers, he adds.

“You’re responsible for every life aboard your boat, so make sure you take that responsibility seriously and ensure everyone gets home safe by not overindulging.”