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Published: 2015-10-07 00:00:00

Boaties are being urged to maintain a tight focus on safety ahead of the traditionally busy Labour Weekend on the Waikato region’s waterways and off the coast.

“If you’re heading out on the water over Labour Weekend or planning to use your boat over summer, it’s important to stay safe,” says Waikato Regional Council’s maritime services team leader Richard Barnett.

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 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 can contact someone during the entire trip
  • let someone else know where your heading and when you expect to be back time. and
  • skippers should avoid alcohol.

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

“Good communications are particularly important,” says Richard.

“You need to be able to contact someone quickly if you’re in trouble.”

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.”