New research, commissioned by MNZ, shows the majority of New Zealanders have good safety attitudes but these don’t always translate into safe behaviour on the water.
MNZ Deputy Director and National Pleasure Boat Safety Forum* Chair Lindsay Sturt says the Research New Zealand study showed a large gap between what people knew to be safe behaviour and how they actually behaved.
“The research found 88% of all New Zealanders believe lifejackets should always be worn on recreational boats, and 80% of boaties share that view.
“When it came to actually wearing a lifejacket, 70% of boaties said they did all the time – but on-water surveys show it’s more like half. Boaties need to start walking the safety talk,” said Mr Sturt.
“We know that around two-thirds of people who die in boating accidents might have been saved if they wore lifejackets.”
Mr Sturt said there was a similar discrepancy when it came to carrying communications equipment to call for help.
“Two-thirds of boaties believe it’s very important to carry two ways to call for help, such as a marine radio or distress beacon – this is what we urge boaties to do at all times. However, only one-half said they actually do.”
Mr Sturt said it’s easy for the “she’ll be right” attitude to set in when the water’s calling.
“Unfortunately, simple mistakes, or a lack of having basic equipment in good working order, can be the difference between just getting wet and not coming home.”
Mr Sturt said the main aim behind Safer Boating Week, a Forum initiative, was to encourage all boaties to pause before going onto the water for the first time this season and go through a series of basic steps that will help them keep safe this summer.
• Prep your boat – service the engine, check and change the fuel, check the battery and just generally give the boat a good onceover.
• Check your gear – make sure your lifejackets are still fit for purpose and you have enough; service any inflatable lifejackets and ensure you have two reliable forms of communications equipment.
* Safer Boating Week is a National Pleasure Boat Safety Forum (Forum) joint initiative.
The Forum was established in 2000 to coordinate and implement recreational boating safety initiatives. The Forum members are: Accident Compensation Corporation; Boating New Zealand magazine; Coastguard Boating Education; Auckland and Wellington regional council harbourmasters and Queenstown-Lakes district council harbourmaster; Kiwi Association of Sea Kayakers; Marine Industry Association; Maritime New Zealand; Ministry of Transport; New Zealand Coastguard; New Zealand Jet Sports Boating Association; Auckland Police Maritime Unit and SAR; Underwater New Zealand; Waikato Regional Council; Water Safety New Zealand; Yachting New Zealand.