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‘No excuses’ fines for no lifejackets and speeding

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Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is one of eight regional councils taking part in a trial “no excuses” policy for recreational boaties not carrying or wearing lifejackets, or speeding on the water.

The Director of Maritime NZ, Keith Manch, said boaties who break councils’ lifejacket and speed rules will be given infringement notices with fines of up to $300, depending on each council’s existing bylaws. Maritime NZ's media release is here.

Hawke’s Bay’s regional Harbourmaster Martin Moore says that for the past three to four seasons the council has run a campaign encouraging lifejackets to be worn, including a schools’ education programme.

“A lifejacket costs $90 to $150 - not a huge cost to save your life.  It’s been great to see most people in Hawke’s Bay wearing lifejackets when they should, but I am still seeing people taking risks and breaking the rules,” he says.

Navigation Safety Bylaws require lifejackets to be worn at all times on small boats under 6 metres, including jetskis and kayaks.  Larger boats must carry enough lifejackets to correctly fit everyone on board and must be put on when entering or leaving a harbour and when the skipper directs it in rough conditions.

Vessels must also keep their speeds to 5 knots or below within 50 meters of another vessel,raft or person in the water, and within 200 metres of the shore and any structure.  There are also specific speed restrictions on rivers.  The Hawke’s Bay Navigation Safety Bylaws are online here

The ‘no excuses’ trial will be run for about five random days by each council at different times during summer. There will be no notice to boaties about when the trial will operate in Hawke’s Bay.  The trial will be at all popular boating beaches in the region where boating advisers will be tasked with issuing the infringement notices.  After summer, the trial will be reviewed and decisions made about whether it will be extended in future.

22 December 2016

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