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Boating safety lessons for Rotorua youngsters

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 10:00 a.m.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council wants to ensure young Rotorua boaties are safer on the water this coming summer.

The Regional Council’s Maritime Unit is running a free pilot programme on Boating Safety for about 900 Rotorua Intermediate School Year 7 – 8 students in November and December.

Each class will have a 40 minute lesson with a visit from the Regional Council’s patrol boat and jetski, interactive activities and discussion about what should be done before heading out on the water, essential boating equipment, boating rules, types of life jackets and how to fit and wear them correctly.

The schools taking part are Rotorua Intermediate, Kaitao Intermediate and Mokoia Intermediate. Every student will also be given a Water Safety workbook to ensure they take in the lessons and have a written record.

Rotorua Harbour Master Pererika Makiha said it’s the first time the Regional Council has offered the programme, and he is hoping most students would participate.

On Friday Maritime NZ and the National Pleasure Boat Safety Forum, made up of agencies responsible for water safety including Coastguard, Water Safety NZ, harbourmasters and Police launch the first national Safer Boating Week to keep boaties safer on the water.

“It’s important to get these youngsters early so they learn good boating habits and hopefully pass on these lessons to their parents and other boat users,” Mr Makiha said.

“We’ll be talking about checking the weather forecast, checking fuel and equipment, how to fill in an intention form and important information about wearing lifejackets, carrying communications and safety equipment. We will also go over the rules for boat speeds and why an observer is required when water skiing or towing”

The Regional Council’s patrol boat and jet ski will be taken to each session so the students can recognise the equipment. Other resources will be provided for the students after the sessions. The children can also take part in a competition that tests their knowledge to win a lifejacket.

Teachers can download a Coastguard Teacher Resource Kit on safe boating for students to study before and after the sessions.

“We’re hoping that these sessions will ensure that local youngsters know more about our lakes and the importance of being safe on the water at all times and especially over the summer period, when most boating accidents happen,” Mr Makiha said.

The Regional Council will be reviewing the outcome of the programme with a view to eventually extending them to Kura Kaupapa and schools in the wider Bay of Plenty region. It has also shared the idea with other Regional Councils to run a similar course in their areas. 

Okataina