Safe opening day for trout fishing season
Friday, 3 October 2014 10:00 a.m.
New Zealand’s trout fishing season opened this week – and the region’s Harbour Master was delighted with the good behaviour of boaties on the lakes.
“We would have had about 300 boats out on the lakes between Tarawera, Rotoiti and Ōkataina for the first day of the fishing season, and only one had no lifejackets on board,” Bay of Plenty Regional Council Harbour Master Peter Buell said.
“These people were using a borrowed boat, so it’s a reminder to people providing holiday accommodation which includes use of water craft that they really need to provide safety equipment and lifejackets for everyone on board. The group went back and got lifejackets.”
Mr Buell said behaviour on the water was the best he’d seen, and boaties were showing an exceptionally good attitude to boating safety. Maritime officers inspected more than 150 boats at Lake Tarawera and along with lifejackets, more boats had fire extinguishers, flares and EPIRB locator beacons than seen before.
Maritime officers were also at Lake Rotoiti on Wednesday from the early hours of the morning, and only one vessel didn’t fully comply with correct navigational lights. Out of about 40 boats launched pre-dawn this was a good result, Mr Buell said.
On Lake Tarawera, of the 70 – 80 vessels being launched four dinghies did not have adequate lighting and were not permitted to launch until it was light enough. All vessels had the correct number of lifejackets and most were wearing them in the rough conditions.
“We hope that attitude lasts throughout the summer, and we see fewer incidents of silly behaviour putting boaties and others at risk on the water. Given the high winds, which added to launching and retrieving problems, it was noticeable that skippers were more tolerant, and overall compliance has improved dramatically.”
“Ramp protocol and courtesy was good, despite boats backed up to 10 to15 at a time waiting to launch, and speed was well controlled to and from the ramps.”
Rotorua Lakes Harbour Master Pererika Makiha reminded boaties to service their boats before going on the water, as three boats failed to start at the ramps.
“The standard comment from the skippers was ‘it was going ok last summer’. Servicing your vessel is very important. The last thing a boatie wants to happen is a breakdown on the lake or even worse out on the ocean away from assistance,” he said.
A national Safer Boating Week begins on 17 October to focus boaties’ attention on key boating safety messages to get their boats and gear ready for the season. The National Pleasure Boat Safety Forum and Maritime NZ are organising activities to remind people to prepare their boat, check their gear and know the boating rules.
No-one is required to have a licence to operate a boat in New Zealand, but ignorance of maritime rules or regional bylaws can lead to fines or prosecution.
Enough lifejackets of the right size and type for everyone on board must always be carried, and should be worn at all times on the water. Boaties must also stick to safe speeds – five knots within 200 metres of the shore, a boat with a dive flag or any other boat or swimmer.