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Published: 2011-05-05 00:00:00

Duck shooters preparing for the start of the hunting season are being reminded by Waikato Regional Council to pack lifejackets for each person on board their boat.

The season begins this Saturday (7 May) and hundreds of camouflaged duck hunters are expected to converge on inland waterways, some of them in boats.

Navigation safety manager Nicole Botherway reminded hunters using boats that each person on board must have a lifejacket.

“We’re lucky that we’ve had no deaths in recent duck shooting seasons, and hunters can ensure this continues by being safe on the water and each wearing lifejackets,” Mrs Botherway said.

The council’s navigation safety bylaws require that every person on board a vessel  under 6m wears a properly fitting lifejacket at all times, unless the skipper decides it is safe not to.

In boats 6m and over, a sufficient number of lifejackets must be carried for each person on board and be worn when the skipper considers it necessary.

Mrs Botherway reminded skippers that alcohol and the water don’t mix. “If you’re skippering a vessel, you’re responsible for everyone on board. Alcohol impairs sound judgment and when combined with guns and the water, it also endangers lives.

“Adherence to the five knot speed limit rule is also important, especially with some waterways likely to have a number of vessels on the water at any time.”

Meanwhile, rules also require that if you’re on the water at night, you must show a light.

Visit www.waikatoregion.govt.nz/Navigation for more information on the boating rules, as well as safety advice.