With wild weather set to impact parts of the country, Maritime NZ wants recreational craft users to think carefully and exercise caution before heading out on the water.
As there are several weather watches and warnings up and down the west coasts of both the North and South islands, Maritime NZ’s harm prevention lead recreational craft, Victoria Slade says, “Recreational craft users should only go out if it is safe, if they understand the conditions, have the correct safety equipment, and have a suitable vessel for the waters they are traversing,”
The warnings and watches are also in place for heavy rain and winds in other places around the country.
Due to the unpredictability of this weather, Slade goes on to say, “To get an understanding of the conditions, it is important to check out MetService’s marine weather forecast to understand the risks on the water. Conditions on the water can be drastically different from those on the land. A light wind on the coast can often increase on the water.”
Maritime NZ strongly discourages anyone from undertaking recreational craft activities in flooded locations, or on swollen waterways particularly in the South Island where there is a heavy rain forecast.
“These pose a significant risk. Floodwaters can hide hazards, such as branches or logs, and the flow of a waterway can be deceivingly quick. As well as understanding the marine weather forecast, anyone who does head out on the water should wear a properly fitted lifejacket, and ensure that they take two forms of communication (such as a beacon and a cellphone). Being able to call for help should you get into trouble, is a lifesaver,” Slade says.
Even in those parts of the country that have relatively clear forecasts, there are risks when heading out on the water.
“We have seen incidents where people have ended up in the water, a long way from help and unable to call for assistance. A fun day on the water can easily turn to disaster quickly. It is better to be safe than sorry,” she says.
“Maritime NZ wants people to have fun on the water, but in a way that ensures they get home safely to their whānau and friends.”