Maritime NZ: delays cost lives at sea

By: Media Release

Maritime New Zealand is warning professional seafarers and recreational boaties that if you’re in trouble, don’t delay, activate your distress beacon or call for help immediately.

Maritime NZ acting director Lindsay Sturt said if a ship or recreational craft is in distress, there is serious injury or a life-threatening situation, then professional seafarers and recreational boaties should take the same action, activate a distress beacon, make a distress call, or do both if they can.

Mr Sturt said the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCCNZ) works 24/7 monitoring distress beacons, providing the Maritime Radio Service, and coordinating search and rescue missions as required.

"A delay increases the chance of serious injury or death, it makes it more likely the vessel will be damaged, and it can put others at risk if the vessel is out of control," he said. "It will also often make the rescue more difficult.

"Call for help early before a situation escalates and becomes increasingly perilous."

Communications equipment is essential for seafarers and boaties. Maritime NZ’s advice is to have at least two ways of communicating that work when they are wet – because if you can’t contact someone to say you’re in trouble, nobody can rescue you.

"VHF radio and beacons are best but we know that for recreational boaties cellphones are now the most commonly carried communications device. If you plan to use a cellphone when boating you must have it in a waterproof bag. It will be no good to you when it is full of water."

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