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Tips and tricks for a safe holiday

Khaecy Melo Schaare Kaweka Forest Park

It is the summer holiday season and the Regional Council wants everyone in Hawke’s Bay to have a great summer. Here’s a few tips and reminders to keep people safe and look after themselves and the environment.

Water quality

‘Swim Thru Summer’ is a reminder to check your favourite spots are good to go before taking the plunge at our superb beaches and rivers, says the Regional Council’s Marine and Coastal Scientist Anna Madarasz-Smith.

"Hawke’s Bay beaches are excellent for swimming. We want people to be safe when they swim, and they can check both the current result, as well as the overall grade to help them make decisions about where water quality is suitable for swimming," says Anna.

To make sure pets are looked after, dog owners are reminded to keep an eye out for black mat algae when walking along rivers with stony beds, especially the Tukituki and Waipawa rivers, as dogs are attracted to the smell.

Glenn Richards Tutaekuri River

Black mat algae, called Phormidium, occurs naturally in many Hawke’s Bay’s rivers and is not linked to poor water quality. However, it has the potential to cause serious illness in people and dogs as it can release toxins into the water. Hawke’s Bay District Health Board has posted warning signs where there is known to be a high risk.

Anyone can use their smartphone to check the traffic light and overall grade for their favourite swimming spot and look at the latest Tukituki phormidium readings by going to and searching: #swim.


Safety on the water

Hawke’s Bay’s Harbourmaster, Captain Martin Moore, says keeping safe on the water is simple.

 “Check the weather before you go, wear a lifejacket, have two forms of waterproof communication, and don’t drink. Most accidents happen without warning on small vessels that are 6m or less. There’s not much time to grab a lifejacket, so being able to call for help is so important,” says Martin.

DSC 9281

“Safety on the water is everyone’s responsibility, so if you’re struggling for a present idea for a boatie you know, check out some water safety gifts,” he adds.

To find out more about safety on Hawke’s Bay waters, head to and search: #safeboating.


Check, Clean, Dry

Summer is a reminder for everyone who visits rivers, lakes and streams to check, clean and dry their gear when they move between waterways.

“Checking, cleaning and drying your gear between waterways stops the spread of invasive freshwater pests, such as didymo, hornwort, pest fish and oxygen weed,” says Hawke’s Bay Regional Council’s Check Clean Dry advocate, Elese Huggett.

Freshwater pests pose a serious threat to all rivers, streams and lakes.

“If pests get into our waterways they are just about impossible to get rid of, they cost a fortune to manage and can ruin beautiful water ways and habitat for native species. Some freshwater pests, like didymo, are microscopic and can be spread in a single drop of water. Even if you can’t see the danger you could be spreading it,” she says.

Ms Huggett recommends people follow the simple Check-Clean-Dry process before leaving any waterway to do their bit and protect our waterways:

  • Check all gear that touched water and leave behind any weed or debris
  • Clean gear with a simple solution of 5% dishwashing liquid (one tablespoon per 250mls of water). The solution can be tipped into anchor wells, bilge areas, kayak hulls and sprayed onto wet surfaces and fishing gear. Absorbent materials, such as lifejackets, wetsuits, booties and tramping boots can be soaked for several minutes.
  • Dry gear inside and out for at least 24 hours before visiting another waterway.

 To report suspected Didymo or other pests, phone the Ministry for Primary Industry’s hotline immediately on 0800 80 99 66. For more information about didymo and other freshwater pests visit and search: check clean dry.

20 January 2020

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