Big drop in summer boating fatalities

By: Media Release

Good news: the 2015-16 recreational boating toll was less than a quarter what it was the year before.

Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss says a significant decrease in recreational boating fatalities last summer shows targeted safety campaigns are hitting the mark.

The 2015-16 recreational boating toll was four, down from 20 in the 2014-15 summer season.

"One death is one too many but the reduced toll is a huge step in the right direction," Mr Foss says.

Research by Maritime NZ shows almost 80 per cent of recreational boaties wear a lifejacket at all times on the water, up from 62 per cent in 2013.

"I’m pleased to say more and more boaties are putting safety first and, as a result, making it home to their families after a day on the water," Mr Foss says.

"This is helped by the huge amount of educational work done by the Safer Boating Forum, including regional councils, over many years.

"The single biggest factor in saving recreational boaties’ lives is wearing a lifejacket. Last summer, in a world first, Maritime NZ used GPS to send text messages reminding boaties to wear a lifejacket. This ‘virtual Coastguard’ sent 3 million reminders and quite possibly saved lives.

"The sea can be an unforgiving place and we are always looking at new ways to encourage boaties to check their gear, follow the rules and wear a lifejacket."

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