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Published: 2015-02-05 00:00:00

Waikato region water users are being reminded of the need to take care in or on waterways and off the coast over the long Waitangi weekend.

“It’s been an awful summer for drowning and we remind people that they need to be on their guard always while having fun in and on the water,” said Waikato Regional Council maritime services manager Nicole Botherway.

“Wearing lifejackets is strongly recommended. Boaties are obliged to wear lifejackets in vessels under six metres and in bigger vessels when required to by the skipper.

“Other requirements include using an observer when towing skiers or people on a biscuit and keeping boat speed down to five knots around swimmers.”

Mrs Botherway said it was also important for swimmers to take care and not do things beyond their capacity.

Key things to remember include:

  • Parents and caregivers should keep a close eye on children at all times.
  • Swim between the flags at beaches.
  • Always be aware of the potential for hazards such as submerged rocks and trees.

“It’s essential that water users follow these sorts of guidelines to help reduce the risks of drowning,” said Mrs Botherway.

“We’ve had far too many drowning already around the country this summer and we want people to pay attention to staying safe this Waitangi holiday weekend.”