Boaties urged to check weather, wear lifejackets

Published: Fri 25 Oct 2019 03:55 PM
Coastguard volunteers across the northern region are prepping for a busy few days of helping boaties in need over Labour weekend.
With a forecast of blustery but otherwise mostly fine weather for much of the North Island this long weekend, Coastguard expects tens of thousands of boaties to hit the water and urges them to make sure they’re good to go.
"Labour Weekend traditionally marks the start of the boating season, so Coastguard expects boaties will be out in force this long weekend, especially when the sun comes out" said Rob McCaw, Head of Operations, Coastguard Northern Region.
"Coastguard volunteers assisted boaties at 67 incidents over Labour Weekend last year, with the majority being for mechanical breakdowns, engine problems and fuel issues caused by the boat sitting over winter."
"The last thing you want when you’re enjoying a day on the water is to break down and have to come home early. Checking over your boat, ensuring your batteries are well charged and making sure you’ve got enough fuel to get there and back, and some in reserve, are some simple ways to get sorted."
With a strong wind advisory in force for all areas this long weekend, a mechanical incident had the potential to become something a lot more serious if the weather or sea state changed, added Mr McCaw.
"The unexpected can happen even to the most experienced of boaties. We strongly recommend all boaties take and wear lifejackets, carry two forms of communication, and check your local marine forecast before heading out."
Key safety messages for this weekend on the water:
•Lifejackets - take them and wear them. They’ve never ruined a day out on the water.
• As the skipper you are responsible for everyone on board and getting them home safely at the end of the day
• Take at least two forms of waterproof communication, such as a VHF radio, cell phone in a waterproof bag and flares – if Coastguard can’t hear you, we can’t rescue you.
• It’s essential to check your local marine weather forecast before heading out and be prepared for the weather to change while you’re out there.
Coastguard is the charity saving lives at sea. We provide New Zealand’s primary maritime search and rescue service through a network of four regions and 71 affiliated units, located around the coastline and major lakes of New Zealand.
Coastguard’s Northern Region covers the area from Thames across to the Mokau River and everything north and is based at the Auckland Marine Rescue Centre (AMRC) in Mechanics Bay. Last year the Operations Room at the AMRC received over 126,000 VHF marine radio calls, with our volunteers on the water and in the air helping assist 6,276 boaties back home to safety.
Coastguard also:
• Provide a 24 hour a day, 365 day-a-year service.
• Maintain and operate a regional VHF radio network that enables Coastguard and boaties to share information and coordinate incident responses.
• Install and maintain buoys and beacons to make recreational boating safer.
• Provide a 24-hour continuous weather forecast via marine radio and the Coastguard app.
• Provide a range of boating education courses to ensure that boaties have a sound knowledge of their boats and the ‘rules of the road’ at sea.

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