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Source: Environment Canterbury Regional Council

Be safe on the lake: check the high country and rural forecasts

Lake conditions can change extremely quickly, and if things go wrong, help can take longer to reach you. The water is often much colder than the ocean if you fall overboard.

Be sure to check the high country forecast for the area you’re boating in, the rural forecast, and the general weather forecast. Be prepared for the possibility that conditions may change quickly; they often do.

If there is a nor’wester wind forecast, stay on land. Nor’westers can cause fast floods to hit as snow melts quickly in the mountains, making its way down to lakes and rivers.

Take two forms of communication, including a personal locator beacon (PLB) or other satellite device

Ensure you have two forms of communication that work in the area. VHF radio has limited coverage on inland waterways and areas like the Waitaki lakes, and in many places is not monitored by authorities. Cell phone reception can be unreliable.

Consider carrying a PLB or other satellite device (such as InReach and SPOT), as these work in all areas, whereas phone and VHF radio coverage is heavily restricted in the lakes.

“The Harbourmaster’s Office team will be out on the water this Canterbury Anniversary Weekend ensuring boaties stay safe, we hope to see you out there enjoying our beautiful waterways,” Gordon says.