Water safety a priority in Nelson

Boaties playing it safe this summer will be in for some great rewards, but people showing reckless behaviour on the water could face hefty fines.

That’s the message from the Nelson Harbourmaster as the boating season gets underway. From 25 December, people flouting the rules in Nelson City Council’s Navigation Safety Bylaw could face infringement fines of up to $1000.

Harbourmaster Dave Duncan says, "We’re about education rather than infringements, and we’re seeing a lot of intelligence out there. It’s the repeat offenders and people behaving dangerously on the water who could be fined."

He adds: "It’s simple really. People owning a boat need to know what the rules are."

Incentives offered by the harbourmaster’s team for boat owners who display good water safety, boat safety and skipper responsibility, include discount fuel vouchers from Nelson Petroleum Distributors.

Random safety equipment checks of boaties at the ramp or on the water will be carried out by the harbourmaster's team. Those with the right gear will receive a voucher. The safety equipment checklist is found via the Maritime NZ website and includes: life jackets, an anchor, knife, spare fuel, weather check, trip report, spare rope, a spare bung, two forms of water-proof communications, a first aid kit and a bailer.

People on kayaks, waka or paddleboards with appropriate Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) could also be in to win a Raglan Roasters coffee voucher, donated by Kite Surf Nelson.

Dave Duncan says, "We want people to be safe on our waters. Remember the skipper is responsible, so be a responsible skipper. If in doubt, don't go out."

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