Kāpiti boaties given thumbs up

The ‘No Excuses’ team was impressed with the high number of Kāpiti boaties wearing lifejackets and following the speed rules on Saturday.

Maritime NZ Maritime Officer Andy Cox says the team pulled up approximately 25 boats for the campaign that aims to educate the public on boating safety.

Boaties were keen for a chat about the rules with staff from Maritime NZ, the Wellington Harbourmaster’s office and NZ Police who were on board the Police launch Lady Elizabeth IV.

“Everyone was wearing – or had – lifejackets on board,” says Mr Cox. “Almost everyone had at least a vague idea of speed restrictions, and everyone had at least one form of communication on board many had two or three.”

“Everyone had told someone they were going out on the water. Many were from a boating club where they put their name and details on the board.”

However, there’s still room for improvement. Mr Cox says some of lifejackets were very old so the boaties were encouraged to get a new one. It’s also important that people test their lifejackets regularly.

Boaties should also consider taking a VHF radio and distress beacon because cellphone reception along the coast is patchy. “Some people only had a cellphone to call for help in an emergency and there’s only limited reception around Kāpiti Island.”

The team pulled up one person for speeding close to another boat. There was even a bit of drama when they had to rescue a family in a small boat whose anchor had become trapped on the seafloor. “We spent 20 minutes helping to unhook their boat,” says Mr Cox.

A camera crew from Police 10/7 were along for the ride so you might see the trip on a coming episode.

Ten councils have held ‘No Excuses’ patrols on random days throughout the summer. Under local bylaws, boaties in the Wellington region face infringement notices of up to $200 for flouting the rules.