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Published: 2016-03-29 00:00:00

Waikato Regional Council says a bar crossing incident at Tairua, in which three men reportedly without lifejackets on were flipped into the sea, highlights the risks involved in such situations.

A decision is expected later today on whether the council or Maritime NZ will formally investigate the incident, which occurred yesterday morning.

The trio were rescued by emergency responders. It’s understood from witnesses that the boat tried to turn mid-crossing.

The council’s maritime services team leader Richard Barnett says it’s still unclear exactly what happened but adds that crossing a bar is an extremely hazardous activity.

“That’s one of the reasons we worked with others to create a series of bar crossing videos for boaties. One of the big no-nos is not to be wearing a lifejacket while crossing a bar. It’s a national rule that they must be worn while crossing bars.

“So it’s vital that people wear lifejackets in these circumstances, make wise decisions about whether it was safe to go on the water in the first place and never try to turn mid-crossing.”

Skippers of vessels who attempted crossing in such circumstances put themselves and crew at risk, as well as emergency responders who had to go to help them, Mr Barnett said.

“Boaties need to make sure they do their homework and equip themselves with the knowledge and skills they need to cross bars.”

More information on how to cross bars safely is available at