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Source: Maritime New Zealand

Auckland’s recreational boaties going out to watch the America’s Cup yachts racing this week are likely to encounter Maritime Officers making sure they are taking the right safety precautions and know the difference between being a recreational and commercial operator.

“With so many people on the water during these events, we want to make sure people can enjoy the day safely and that they know their obligations,” Neil Rowarth, Maritime NZ’s Compliance Manager – North, said.

Maritime Officers will be engaging with boaties at boat ramps, marinas and other pick up/drop off places close to where the races will be throughout the four days of the Christmas Cup regatta.

“We want to make sure people are prepared with lifejackets and communications equipment, have checked their gear and know the conditions,” Mr Rowarth said. “We’re also making sure people know the difference between being a recreational boatie and a commercial operator,” he said. “Taking your friends out for a great day on the water is okay, charging them for the privilege is not.”

Mr Rowarth said commercial operators taking paying passengers out on the water had to be in a Maritime NZ recognised safety system, or hold an exemption. “It is not okay for recreational boaties to think they can make a few dollars on the side,” he said.  Operators in a recognised safety system are being offered a distinctive pink and yellow flag to help identify them to the public.

As well, this year there are a lot of personal water craft owners who aren’t aware of the need to register personal water craft with the Auckland Transport Harbour Master and display their registration numbers on the sides of the craft.

“This is all about helping people know their obligations and for them to be safe on the water,” Mr Rowarth said.

People going out to the races can find course and safety information on the official America’s Cup website.

Boat ramps will be busy so spectators are being advised to plan ahead and be patient when they are waiting to launch their boats.

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