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Play it safe this summer

Friday, 20 December 2013 11:45 a.m.

Be safe, be responsible and be aware - that’s the key message from Bay of Plenty harbourmasters for locals and visitors enjoying the region’s waterways over the festive season.

“People come to our region from around the country to enjoy water-based activities and with locals also out and about during the holidays, it means our waterways can get pretty crowded. We want people to enjoy themselves but to do so safely,” Bay of Plenty Regional Council Maritime Operations Manager Reuben Fraser says.

Maritime staff and volunteers will be patrolling waterways throughout the Bay of Plenty to ensure people are being safe and sticking to the rules.

“The rules are there to keep everyone safe so we would like to think that people will abide by them and support the work of our staff and volunteers this summer,” Mr Fraser says. “We ask that people behave responsibly and take extra care when it gets busy.”

Breaches of the Bay of Plenty Regional Navigation Safety Bylaw can attract a $200 fine.

Those who go out diving are reminded that they must have a dive flag visible on board their vessel and boaties who see vessels bearing these flags should stay well clear, as divers often drift away from their boats.

People are also being urged to ensure inflatable life jackets are in good working order.

“Regular maintenance of inflatable life jackets is essential,” Mr Fraser says. “They are light, easy to wear and don’t take up much vessel storage space but it’s really important that they are checked regularly and every second year they should be taken to a professional service agent for full servicing.

“We hope people will have a fun and safe festive season.”

The rules

  • You must be 15 or older to drive a powered vessel that is capable of travelling faster than 10 knots, including a jet ski;
  • You must not go faster than five knots:

-          Within 50 metres of another vessel or person in the water,

-          Within 200 metres of the shore, a dive flag, or any structure;

  • The operator of any vessel, including a jet ski, must ensure there is a lifejacket of the correct size and fit for each person on board;
  • You must ensure that your vessel’s wake does not cause danger or damage to boats or other water users;
  • If you are skiing/towing there must also be an observer who is older than 10 years in the vessel or on the jet ski. The person being towed must wear a lifejacket;
  • You can be fined $200 for breaching the bylaw.

The Bay of Plenty Regional Navigation Safety Bylaw 2010 is available online at



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