Source: Maritime New Zealand
Maritime Officers will again be out on boat ramps and marinas when the Prada Cup gets underway on Friday, with organisers expecting as many as 3000 craft on the water on key race days.
“People having the right gear, knowing the rules and the conditions and being courteous will be key to everyone watching the racing safely and getting home safely,” Neil Rowarth, Maritime NZ’s Compliance Manager – North, said.
“We’ll have staff on the ramps making sure people are prepared with lifejackets and communications, have checked their gear, know the rules, particularly around speed, and have checked the weather conditions,” Mr Rowarth said. “Because of the numbers it will also be important for people to be patient and courteous to each other.”
Maritime Officers tested their approach during the pre-Christmas racing and interacted with more than 500 boaties, making it Maritime NZ’s biggest single-event safety campaign.
Mr Rowarth said he expected that number to be exceeded during the upcoming Prada Cup and America’s Cup regattas and Maritime Officers will be drawn from the Northern, Central and Southern regions to provide capacity.
“Our staff were well received before Christmas and I think everyone appreciates the measures being taken to help people stay safe on the water,” he said. “With so many new boaties taking to the water this year it is important that we reinforce the safety messages.”
He said that if necessary, Maritime Officers would issue infringement notices, but that the main goal was to ensure people knew the rules. “Before Christmas we found that most people were carrying enough life jackets and did have communications on board, but it was also clear that there were plenty of knowledge gaps and many people were keen to learn more,” he said. “Things can happen so quickly on the water, so it is important that people are prepared.”.