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Source: New Zealand Police (District News)

Please attribute to Senior Sergeant Brian Benn

Police would like to remind all boating enthusiasts to be careful crossing the Taieri Mouth bar in any conditions.

Today two boaties had a near miss while crossing the bar, tipping them out into the water at high tide around 9:55am.

There were two incidents in the last few days in Southern District where the boaties ran into trouble while out in the water.

Early in the week on Tuesday, a 28 foot cabin boat got into trouble at Taieri Mouth at low tide and they had to be rescued also.

On today’s occasion, the four metre aluminium boat was tipped by a series of waves with the two occupants ending up in the water.

Thankfully, they had life jackets on and managed to swim a short distance to shore where they were located with the assistance of First Response Taieri Mouth, some local fishermen and an off-duty Police officer.

Surf Life Saving and the Otago Rescue Helicopter were stood down after the boaties got safely to shore, however they needed medical assistance due to hypothermia and shock.

The wind and sea conditions at the time were okay, but it’s likely that the open boat was unsuitable for fishing in such conditions.

It was good that the crew were wearing life jackets, which possibly prevented them from drowning.  They also had good communication lines and two motors on board, so they certainly came prepared for their trip.

While the weather was relatively calm at the time of the incident, the sea became quite rough an hour later.

Regardless of the time of the year, the weather can change in an instant and make crossing difficult at high or low tide.

Water safety is so important and some simple common sense checks can prevent needless tragedies.

It’s important when boating to be familiar with navigational hazards in your area to ensure a safe passage, especially on the Taieri Mouth bar.

Boaties are also reminded to:

–  always wear a life jacket when they are boating, jet skiing or using other craft on the water
–  have two forms of waterproof communication on board
–  make sure their equipment is safe and working
–  leave their trip intentions with someone onshore
–  always check the water and weather forecast.

Here are some other details on how to cross the bar:

–       Before leaving harbour, a skipper must assess conditions on the bar.

–       Skippers must be aware that a rapid change in conditions might prevent a safe return to harbour.

–       Craft unable to weather adverse seas outside the bar should not leave port.

–       Those vessels leaving for longer trips should ensure they have adequate reserve fuel and provisions to enable the vessel to remain at sea and/or divert to another port should adverse bar conditions prevail on their return.

–       Ensure that your vessel has sufficient stability. All vessels must be in a stable condition.

Skippers should be aware of all the factors that determine a vessel’s stability including:

–       the free surface effect of liquids and loose fish

–       additional weights on deck, including portable ice slurry bins and fuel containers

–       the loss of stability that occurs if deck enclosures or bins suddenly fill with water

–       modifications to a vessel may be detrimental to its stability.

–       the movement of weights within the vessel, including people.


Issued by the Police Media Centre